PYCLAS Seminar with Gabriel Glöckler (European Central Bank)

On 7 May, SAPIA JMM held a PYCLAS Seminar with Gabriel Glöckler, under the heading of “The European Central Bank: policy, outlook and opportunities”.

PYCLAS Seminar-rek Europako politika publikoen kudeaketarekin eta kontrolarekin lotutako erakunde publiko eta pribatuetako profesionalekin elkarreragiteko aukera eskaintzen dute. Ikuspegi nahiko praktiko eta itxi batetik, gonbidatuak bere jarduera profesionala aurkezten du, eta nola barneratzen den Europar Batasuneko kudeaketa publikoan / kontrol publikoan. Gainera, ikasleekin orientazio eta aholku praktikoak partekatzen ditu bere esperientzian oinarrituta, hala nola bere karreran nagusitu diren balioak edo karrera profesionalean aurrera egiteko ezinbestekotzat jotzen dituen trebetasunak. PYCLAS mintegiaren diseinuak zure aukera profesionalen aukera zabaltzeko eta lan merkatuan dauden kudeaketa publikoko eta gizarte zibilaren antolatutako alderdiak sakontzeko aukera emango du, baina egungo unibertsitate curriculumak ez du behar bezala islatzen.
2018-2020 ikasturtean, Jean Monnet SAPIA moduluak hiru PYCLAS Mintegi antolatzen ditu ikastaro bakoitzeko, Europako Batzordearen eta Deustuko Unibertsitateko Zuzenbide Fakultateko Erasmus + Programaren finantzaketari esker.

Gabriel Glöckler

Gabriel Glockler has worked at the European Central Bank since 1999 and is currently Principal Adviser at the ECB’s Directorate General Communication. He has degrees from Oxford (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) and the College of Europe (European Politics and Public Administration). He is in charge of a very challenging task: the Bank’s outreach towards the general public, politics, and academia and the strategic direction of its communications.

Gabriel explained to our students the institutional aspects of the ECB in a very dynamic and lively way. With our common currency, the euro, at 20, he recalled a Schumpeter’s reflections and stated that never have they been more applicable to the Union.

‘The monetary system of a nation reflects everything that this nation wants, does, suffers, is, and that at the same time the monetary system of nation exerts a vital influence on her management of the economy and her fate in general”

J. Schumpeter

By contrast, he explained, 2018 is the year of the widest gap between citizen’s trust in the euro and citizens’ trust in the ECB, what Gabriel Glockler called the ‘trust paradox’.

Gabriel traced the different stages of the construction of a ‘currency without a state’ in Europe and explained to our students the five constitutional pillars of the European Monetary Union indepth:

  • price stability
  • independence of the Central Bank
  • prohibition of monetary financing and privileged access to credit
  • ‘no bail out’ clause
  • fiscal rules (sustainable debt and avoidance of excessive deficits

When presenting the actual decisions taken by the ECB, we benefitted from Gabriel’s institutional insights. He has worked close to the ECB Director Mario Monti and shared plenty of anecdotes, of how ECB decisions were ‘cooked’ so to say, and presented to the general public. In particular, he focused on the ECB key decisions of 7 March 2019:

  • on interest rates and ‘forward guidance’ (“…at least through the end of 2019 and in any case for as long as necessary to ensure the continued sustained convergence of inflation to levels that are below, but close to, 2% over the medium term.”)
  • on reinvestment policy, that is, after a net purchase phase where ECB gained 2500 bn EUR in total holdings, it started reinvesting 20 bn EUR monthly
  • on new targeted long-terms refinancing operations (TLTROs)

Gabriel addressed next a number of challenges ahead for the ECB, most specially Brexit, political risks for the euro in the Eurozone countries where democratic values are being challenged, and the role reserved for the euro in an international scenario increasingly dominated by cryptocurrencies.

The most attractive topic for me, perhaps, was the section on the risks posed by the independence of the ECB, which turns interestingly into a paradox when considering the challenges for the independence of the ECB. Put it in the simplest way, too much ECB independence poses a risk from the perspective of accountability of the ECB; and at the same time, too little independence poses greater risk of power grab by irresponsible politicians.

Central Banks have become powerful multipurpose institutions, escaping checks and balances, risking all independence

John B. Taylor

The failure of elected politicians to act appropriately has turned central banks into the ‘only game in town’. The ECB is set to face growing push back against its independent status, regardless of whether it manages to ‘save’ the EMU. It would have to be quite powerful to succeed – too powerful for any democracy to abide

O. Issing, November 2016 on

During the second part of the talk, Gabriel presented the various opportunities Deusto students are offered at the European Central Bank. These include notably the following ones:

  • traineeships
  • Graduate Programme
  • Fellowships
  • Freelance Contracts

All in all, it was a dense, useful, and lively presentation on the ECB, which probably tops every year the list of EU institutions least known to citizens.

Maria-Luisa Sánchez-Barrueco

PYCLAS Seminars offer you the opportunity to interact, in an informal setting, with professionals from public and private organizations related to the management and control of European public policies. From an eminently practical and close perspective, the guest exposes her professional activity, and how it is integrated into the public management / public control of the European Union. In addition, she shares with the students practical guidance and advice based on her own experience, such as the values that have prevailed in her career or the professional skills that she considers essential to progress in the professional career. The design of the PYCLAS Seminar will allow you to broaden your range of professional opportunities, and delve into aspects of public management and organized civil society that exist in the labor market, but the current university curriculum does not adequately reflect.
During the 2018-2020 triennium, the Jean Monnet SAPIA Module organizes three PYCLAS Seminars per course, thanks to funding from the Erasmus + Program of the European Commission and the Faculty of Law of the University of Deusto.

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