ICCF and IBL Host Pension Debate in Italy
On June 17th, the International Council for Capital Formation organized, together with the Istituto Bruno Leoni, Italy's leading think tank, a conference on pension reform with Chilean reformer Jose Pinera.
The meeting took place in the center of Milan, at the "Marino Alla Scala Events," right above the atelier of Trussardi, one of Italy's most prestigious (and elegant) fashion firms. The conference was introduced by Alberto Mingardi, Globalization and Competition Director of IBL, and saw Mr. Pinera confronting with Mr. Giancarlo Pagliarini (former Minister of Budget, a position he held in the first Berlusconi government) and Mr. Tiziano Treu (Italy's Minister of Labour in various center left governments, during the Nineties). The result was a discussion as sparkling as polite, in which Pinera took the leading role proposing Italian politicians to follow the example of his native Chile in reforming social security.
Mr. Pagliarini enthusiastically embraced the point of view of his Chilean colleague, lamenting the fact that even his own party's government too often hesitate in making the right choice for the fear of losing votes in the ballot box.
Mr. Treu, one of the architects of the reform that shaped the current Italian system, defended a mixed, multi-pillars system - with a "public wallet" in competition with private pension funds.
"The problem is that the public wallet is currently empty," Pagliarini responded.
But Pinera and Treu found a substantial agreement on the fact that transition from the old system to the new one should be completely voluntary. The conference attracted more than 150 attendees, most of whom stayed for the cocktail reception which followed the discussion. Some influential members of the Milan's business community participated in the meeting.
The meeting generated important press coverage: The day
after, Jose Pinera's face was on the first page of Il Sole 24 Ore,
the Italian equivalent of the Financial Times, which featured an
interview with him. Libero, a leading center right paper, also
featured a page-long interview with Pinera, signed by Renato Farina, one
of the country's most respected journalists. Il Giornale, L'Independente
and a number of press news agencies featured articles on the meeting
as well. The conference was recorded and broadcasted by "Radio Radicale."
The ICCF has also hosted three "Economic and Environmental
Policy Evenings" in Brussels. The ICCF's dinner series brings together
leading MEPs, business leaders and economists for lively discussions on
a variety of economic and policy issues.
"Russia would have an economy the size of Estonia,"
Dr. Illarionov said.
EU policmakers continue to express concern over the costs of limiting greenhouse gas emissions. A recent article from "Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty" indicates that German Economic Minister Wolfgang Clement believes that his country's proposed carbon dioxide emission limits are too severe in their original form and that economic growth "isn't possible that way," (RFE/RL, 4/01/04).
The ICCF has substantially contributed to raising policymakers's awareness of emission reduction costs by providing macroeconomic analyses of major EU countries like Italy, Spain, Germany, Netherlands and the UK.
The ICCF has also demonstrated its effectiveness on a variety of economic issues, as evidenced by Dr. Thorning's participation in two recent international conferences: Dr. Thorning traveled to Nassau, Bahama to participate in the Association of Private Enterprise Education's 29th Annual Conference, Institutions, Culture, and Ethics in a Market Economy. She also moderated a panel at the Liberal Agenda for the New Century: A Global Perspective conference, which was co-sponsored by the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Analysis and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
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