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The views of the researchers participating in the debt sustainability seminar do not necessarily reflect the views of the ESM or ESM policy.


The ESM will hold a high-level seminar on April 20-21, 2021 to discuss key issues in debt sustainability analysis in light of the changing economic and policy environment, including due to Covid-19. In particular, interest rates are likely to stay low for an extended period of time, the fiscal and monetary policy response to Covid-19 has been very large and effective, potential growth has been weak and may be at risk of further scarring from Covid-19, and there are looming long-term challenges like ageing and climate change. These developments are changing how policy makers, markets and academia think about debt sustainability. On one hand, debt levels that previously would have raised major doubts about sustainability now appear sustainable under reasonable baseline assumptions. On the other hand, higher financing needs expose economies to higher risks from shocks, and weaker growth prospects as well as climate challenges pose longer-term threats. These issues are particularly relevant as Europe is searching a new post-Pandemic framework for coordinating fiscal policies, and the future relationship between fiscal and monetary policies is in debate. We will discuss these issues with a high-level group of policy practitioners, academics, and market investors.

For more information on the seminar, please contact



20 April 2021
14.00 - 14.10
Welcoming Remarks by Klaus Regling
Session I
14.10 - 15.40
DSA after Covid-19
(Chair: Giovanni Callegari)

Lead discussant: Vitor Gaspar (International Monetary Fund)


Agnès Bénassy-Quéré (French Treasury)
Carlo Cottarelli (Bocconi University, Catholic University of Milan)
Xavier Debrun (National Bank of Belgium/European Fiscal Board)
Isabelle Mateos y Lago (Blackrock)

15.40 - 16.00
Virtual coffee break
Session II
16.00 - 17.15
Policy implications in the "new normal"
(Chair: Rolf Strauch)


Olivier Blanchard (Peterson Institute of International Economics)
Claudio Borio (Bank for International Settlements)
Claudia Buch (Deutsche Bundesbank)
Marco Buti (European Commission)
David Lipton (US Treasury)

17.15 - 17.30
Summing up the first day: Rolf Strauch



21 April 2021
Session III
15.00 - 16.30
Integrating climate change into the long-term fiscal outlook

(Chair: Marialena Athanasopoulou)

Lead discussant: Signe Krogstrup (Danmarks Nationalbank)


Narcissa Balta (European Commission)
Andrea Presbitero (Johns Hopkins University)
Debora Revoltella (European Investment Bank)
Stavros Zenios (University of Cyprus, Bruegel)
Jeromin Zettelmeyer (International Monetary Fund)

ESM Seminar on Debt Sustainability

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