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ECB’s Christine Lagarde delivers a conference at École Polytechnique

Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), discussed with students of École Polytechnique and of the Institut Polytechnique de Paris. She underlined three key challenges for the coming years : the ongoing transformation of globalization, the consequences, including for monetary policy, of digital technologies and global warming.
ECB’s Christine Lagarde delivers a conference at École Polytechnique
21 Apr. 2023

Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), discussed on April 20th with students from École Polytechnique and from the Institut Polytechnique de Paris, during one of her rare speeches within an EU member state.

In an outfit at the colors of Europe, Christine Lagarde highlighted three key issues for the ECB, stressing that price stability is the core objective of the monetary institution.

She underlined that a transformed globalization, the fragmentation of trade in goods, services and international investments are reshuffling the world economy.

“This has and will more probably have a real impact on the price level because the elasticity that we had enjoyed for many years and which allowed us to turn to this or that source of supply, suddenly came up against this fragmentation and to this geopoliticization of exchanges,” she said

“Our monetary policy must obviously deploy all its monetary policy tools to bring inflation back to the medium-term target of 2% that we have set. ”

The President of the ECB mentioned the acceleration of the digital revolution generated by the Covid pandemic. Digital also relates to issues of payment and sovereignty and the ECB intends to be a player in terms of digital currency, she said, emphazising that the monetary institution had launched a program for the development of a digital euro.

Christine Lagarde finally insisted on the importance that the ECB attaches to the fight against global warming even if it is not its primary mandate.

In his welcome speech, Eric Labaye, President of École polytechnique and the Institut Polytechnique de Paris, spoke of the ECB's commitment to ecological transition and insisted on the actions implemented by Ecole polytechnique in this area, through its Climate Plan, published in  January 2022.


During a discussion with students, Christine Lagarde pleaded for the commitment in favor of the common good, insisted on the role of women, in particular in crisis situations, and underlined the importance of the spirit of consensus.

Taunting a student who, despite the end of the conference, submitted three questions to her in one, Christine Lagarde, first answered him “You should do politics!”.To which he replied “No thank you”! This was the opportunity for the President of the ECB to make a vibrant plea in favor of politics, in the sense of commitment to the common good.

“Politics is about serving the common good. I invite you to get involved a lot in politics in the context of your long threads of life, which begin on the professional level, above all not to exclude it. If women and men of your quality, of your knowledge, rich in the education you receive, do not commit themselves to the public good, but who will? “, said Christine Lagarde.

A statement that echoed the strong values ​​of commitment to the common good, integrity, open-mindedness, discipline and team spirit of École polytechnique that Eric Labaye had mentioned.

Asked about her experience as a woman of action both as the first president of a prestigious American law firm, then as Minister of Finance of a French government, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and now as President of the ECB, she spoke of women's ability to manage crises and their propensity to generate consensus.


From the 2008 financial crisis, to the management of the Covid pandemic or the European sovereign debt crisis, the President of the ECB underlined that there are times in economic or political history when a beam of skills generally attributed to women is useful and effective.

"In all the situations in which I found myself, 2008 [financial crisis, editor's note], 2011 [European sovereign debts crisis], 2019 [Covid pandemic], each time I adopted the same approach", she said.

“Making sure the organization I was working for had strong finances, and then bring people together to make sure we were aiming at the same obectives. Unite, create consensus, these are things that I have seen put in practice, for example by Angela Merkel [Chancellor of  Germany from November 2005 to December 2021 and a physicist by training, editor’s note]”, she observed.

"This ability to stand aside, also – above  all - when it comes to claim the merits of this or that solution are characteristics that I have seen more often in women than in men", she concluded.

At the end of her exchanges with the students, Christine Lagarde spoke with five professors-researchers from École Polytechnique and ENSAE Paris : Gregory Corcos, associate professor in the Department of Economics at École polytechnique and specialist in international economics ; Giovanni Ricco, professor at École Polytechnique, researcher at the Centre for Research in Economics and Statistices (CREST*) and specialist in monetary policy; Olivier Loisel, professor at ENSAE Paris and researcher at the,CREST, specialist in macroeconomic theory and monetary economics, Nicolas Mottis, professor in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Management Department at École polytechnique and Patricia Crifo, professor at École polytechnique, researcher at the CREST, specialist in sustainable development and finance, corporate social and environmental responsibility and green growth issues.

The President of the ECB also hold talks with Eric Labaye and the Director General of Ecole Polytechnique, Laura Chaubard.

*CREST: a joint research unit CNRS, ENSAE Paris, Ecole polytechnique - Institut Polytechnique de Paris, GENES

Christine Lagarde, president of the ECB, at école polytechnique

Arrival of Christine Lagarde at École Polytechnique
Welcome speech by Eric Labaye
Portrait of Christine Lagarde by Vanessa Ocneriu (X21)
Audience in the Poincaré Amphitheater,
Christine Lagarde with the students : Hélène Stefanelli (EPFL), Samuel Villard (X21, first on the right) and Riho Pallum (Bachelor)
Exchanges between Christine Lagarde and professors-researchers Patricia Crifo and Nicolas Mottis