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Nordic Summit 2020: What does the future of EU look like in light of COVID-19?

The former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb gives his verdict on how COVID-19 will impact the EU. Nordic Summit is a recurring annual event for Danske Bank’s corporate and institutional clients.

Through Nordic Summit 2020 - this year transformed into a series of virtual sessions - Danske Bank sheds light on the current COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences for the global economy and the society as a whole.

The session was moderated by Piet Philip Haines Christiansen, Chief ECB Strategist in Danske Bank, and Aila Mihr, Senior Analyst in Danske Bank.

Watch a recap


Key-takeaways from Stubb

  • In these types of crises, we have a tendency to do three things: we over-rationalise the past, we overdramatize the present and we underestimate the future.
  • It is crucial that we don’t overdramatize what's going on. We need to prepare for what might be in store in the future and stop thinking about the world as a perfect utopia. 
  • Crises like COVID-19 always go through three phases: crisis, chaos and suboptimal solution. 
  • In the beginning of the crisis, EU first went domestic and national. A lot of EU member states stopped the free movement of goods, people, services and to a certain extent, money. In many ways, they wanted to protect their own. But once the EU woke up of its slumber, it has actually done a lot and very fast: EU has put together an overall rescue package in the ballpark of 2.5-3 trillion euros – this is a lot of money coming from the EU.
  • However, regardless of what the European Union does, it's never going to be enough. One of the reasons for that is that the instruments are limited with EU's budget being approximately 1% of the GNI of the whole European area. This means that the redistributive power and capacity to act still lie on a lot of these issues with the nation state.
  • In any case, we will be in a deep recession-come-depression. It's just a question of how quickly do we get out of there.

About Stubb

  • Has served as Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, Trade and Europe Minister of Finland (2008-2016). He was a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2008 and the national parliament from 2011 to 2017). He was furthermore the Chairman of the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) from 2014 to 2016 and Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) 2017 to 2020. 
  • The director of the School of Transnational Governance at the European University Institute in Florence.
  • Avid pro-European with experience across all EU institutions from the European Council to the European Parliament, from the Commission to the Council of Ministers.
  • Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics, Master’s degree in EU administration from the College of Europe in Bruges, and a B.A. in political science from Furman University in South Carolina. He also studied french language, culture and civilisation at the Sorbonne in Paris.

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Nordic Summit - what you need to know

  • A recurring annual event for Danske Bank’s corporate and institutional clients, where we share a Nordic perspective on the most critical topics and megatrends.
  • The event includes a series of keynote speeches and panel debates with leading international experts, politicians and industry leaders on these subjects.
  • Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided to transform this year’s event into a series of virtual sessions all focusing on COVID-19. We are making the insights from the day available for everyone here on our website.