The financial markets have been on a roller coaster ride recently. After a long period of record-breaking highs, assets (including notoriously volatile cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin) have seen dramatic falls. Analysts believe we are seeing a “correction” (as opposed to a crash) as interest rates are slowly increasing and investors look at robust growth internationally and start factoring in the possibility of rising inflation. Nevertheless, it’s focused minds on the overall health of the global economy. Our readers have certainly been busy sending us in questions and comments on this topic (amongst others) as part of our recent #AskDraghi initiative, organised in collaboration with the European Central Bank, the European institution in charge of keeping prices stable in the euro area. For example, Christiaan asked us if Europe is in a better place today than it was when the crisis hit a decade ago. Has the EU reformed enough to cope with another big economic shock?
Who better to respond to Christiaan than the President of the European Central Bank himself, Mario Draghi? In 2017, Mr Draghi was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 11th most-powerful person in the world. He has been credited with saving the euro by speaking three simple words: the ECB would do “whatever it takes” to protect the Single Currency. To put it bluntly, it’s worth listening to what he has to say. And, for the first time, Mr Draghi has answered questions online. So, what would he say to Christiaan?
Amidst a sea of volatility, one of the most turbulent assets has been Bitcoin (alongside other cryptocurrencies). Our next question was sent in via Twitter by Italo, asking for investment advice: “If you were a young university student like me, would you buy Bitcoin?”
What would Mario Draghi say to Italo? Should we all rush out and invest in cryptocurrencies?
Next up, we had another question via Twitter on the hot topic of cryptocurrencies, this one from Victoria. She’s apparently less interested in Bitcoin itself, but rather the underlying “blockchain” technology that Bitcoin is built upon. Her question: “How can blockchain technology support the economy?”
Our next question came from Ismail, who asked when we can finally say that Europe has shaken off the long shadow of the crisis and the decade of austerity: “When will Europe fully recover from its recession?”
Finally, we had a question sent in from Jan, asking about the future of the European economy and how it will be impacted by the new technologies we are already starting to see shake up the labour market: “How would the ECB respond if AI and automation caused massive youth unemployment?”
Want to hear more from other European leaders and experts? Check out our other “Ask” series elsewhere on Debating Europe. Recently, we’ve been running just such a series with the European Ombusdsman, Emily O’Reilly. Prior to that, we co-hosted a live #AskJuncker event with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker (and, in fact, we did the same thing with Juncker back in 2016). Before that, we co-hosted something very similar with Juncker’s predecessor, José Manuel Barroso. See what they had to say!