Introducing Prof. Jean Pisani-Ferry

Keynote speaker Conference Finance and the Common Good, 29 June 2020

Jean Pisani-Ferry is a leading French economist, with a highly developed sense for policy, politics and geopolitics. He is, amongst many other things, professor at the European University Institute, faculty member of Sciences Po in Paris, senior fellow of Hertie School in Berlin, Bruegel in Brussel and PIIE Peterson Institute in the US.

For a recent TV appearance see Interview June20 – Jean Pisani-Ferry : “La priorité c’est d’aider les ménages qui ont le plus souffert!”

For Pisani-Ferry’s interesting views on the lessons drawn from Covid, read The uncertain pandemic consensus,

Jean Pisani-Ferry, Korea Herald, published  Jun 2, 2020 (See annex pisani ferry jun20 The uncertain pandemic consensus)

Pisani-Ferry’s most recent contributions are on the post lockdown economic recovery. A very solid piece is A New Policy Toolkit Is Needed as Countries Exit COVID-19 Lockdowns   (June 2020)
that he wrote together with Olivier Blanchard and Thomas Philippon. Interestingly, all these three economists are members of the experts commission installed last month by Macron to advise him on the post lockdown recovery policies.

One month before Pisani-Ferry co-authored a similar document pitched at the EU level, titled Repair and reconstruct: A Recovery Initiative
Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Ramon Marimon, Philippe Martin, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Lucrezia Reichlin, Dirk Schoenmaker, Beatrice Weder di Mauro –  20 April 2020


The EU has been slow to formulate its response to the Covid crisis. Fortunately, things have started to change. The EU’s leaders should finish work on the new borrowing facilities, first by clarifying the maturities of the borrowings, and second by being prepared to beef up their amounts if needed. It is also crucial to find ways to jointly finance priority action and to provide support to countries worst affected by the crisis in order to restart their own economies. The objective of a Recovery Initiative should be to repair and reconstruct the EU economy: to repair corporate balance sheets and value chains; and to reconstruct the economy on a new, sustainable basis through investment in common public goods such as research, resilience, and the greening of the economy. This will involve targeted investment, coordinated restructuring in some sectors, and the introduction of an equity fund to help SMEs survive the crisis.

[This idea of an equity fund for SME was promoted by a.o. Elena Carletti and Arnoud Boot
Arnoud Boot, Elena Carletti, Hans-Helmut Kotz, Jan Pieter Krahnen, Loriana Pelizzon, Marti Subrahmanyam, 03 April 2020
Coronavirus and financial stability 3.0: Try equity – risk sharing for companies, large and small


COVID-19 is a disaster for many firms – especially small and medium-sized ones. This column proposes a scheme that could bring funding to firms quickly without increasing their leverage or default risk. The plan combines outright cash transfers with a temporary, elevated corporate profit tax at the firm level as a form of conditional payback. The implied equity-like payment structure has positive risk-sharing features for firms, without impinging on ownership structures. The proposal should be implemented at the European level to strengthen euro area resilience. ]


Geopolitics and the EU

Last year, Pisani-Ferry’s contributions focused heavily on the geopolitization of international relations and on the urgent need for Europe and the EU to come to terms with the new global reality. For a very solid analysis see the Bruegel report of 25 June 2019: Redefining Europe’s Economic Sovereignty

The report is a plea for an overall geopolitization of EU policies. Sections include:

  • the position of the EU in the current global order
  • currently, European economic governance purposefully ignores geopolitical considerations
  • China and the United States are increasingly trying to gain geopolitical advantage using their economic might.
  • the problems that China and the US pose for European economic sovereignty
  • integrate economic and geopolitical considerations
  • develop an economic sovereignty strategy to boost Europe’s research and scientific base,  protect assets critical to national security from foreign interference, enforce a level playing field in domestic and international competition, and strengthen European monetary and financial autonomy
  • an economic sovereignty committee should be established that will seek to integrate economic and security considerations

Pisani-Ferry’s co-author Mark Leonard formulates a very sharp resume in Le Monde: “Il faut une refonte complète de la politique étrangère européenne.  Alors que la Chine, la Russie et les Etats-Unis se font concurrence pour la suprématie mondiale, l’Union européenne doit trouver sa place, explique le directeur du think tank Conseil européen des relations internationales.” See

Pisani-Ferry himself gives a resume on the Project Syndicate site, titled: Farewell, Flat World.

Together with Bruegel’s Guntram Wolff Pisani-Ferry wrote a Memo to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Mogherini / Borrell), titled The threats to the European Union’s economic sovereignty

The authors describe the current context and the increasing interlinkages between economics and power politics and the role to play in reinforcing and defending Europe’s economic sovereignty. […] Economics used to play a limited role in foreign policy, which was about wars, conflicts and human disasters – and how to avoid them. But neither China nor the United States now separates economics from geopolitics. The competition between them is simultaneously an economic competition and a security competition. This is a threat to the multilateral system the European Union has relied on for nearly seven decades and to the EU’s separation of external economic relationships from geopolitics. You and your Commission colleagues must redefine for the EU its concept of economic sovereignty and the instruments it needs to defend and promote it.