Pierre Gramegna discusses the euro, climate change and the purpose of the European Union.
FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Sacred Heart University recently hosted Luxembourg’s minister of finance, Pierre Gramegna, for a lecture about the European Union (EU).
The University has a special connection to Luxembourg: SHU established a satellite campus there in 1991 as a graduate business school and now also offers short-term and semester-long undergraduate programs at the Luxembourg campus.
The minister’s lecture touched on the EU, the formation of which stems from efforts to forge closer social, economic and political ties among the European countries after World War II. The euro was created to be a common currency across the continent, he noted. “It makes no sense to build common currency if you don’t have common economic policies,” Gramegna said.
Gramegna also discussed COVID-19 and the panic it created. He said that, before the pandemic, the EU had experienced several years of economic growth, including the creation of 15 million jobs. The lockdown halted that growth as the pandemic crushed economies across the globe.
Two-thirds of the population is now vaccinated, which has allowed people to return to work and the economy to begin to recover. “We need to build forward better,” Gramegna said, referring to global initiatives for recovering from the pandemic’s sweeping impacts.
Regarding the climate crisis, Gramegna said he hopes to see a number of measures enacted, including taking businesses to task for “greenwashing,” or falsely marketing products as environmentally friendly; shortening the timeline for ending the use of coal plants and implementing sustainable financial practices. He also pointed out that, to promote a healthier environment, Luxembourg became the first country to offer free public transportation for commuters.
Gramegna holds a master’s degree in civil law and economic sciences, as well as an honorary doctorate from SHU Luxembourg. He was appointed Luxembourg’s minister of finance in 2013 and reappointed in 2018. Throughout his tenure, he has worked to balance the budget and make the country’s tax rules more transparent, according to a government website. He also has been active in promoting environmental initiatives.
David Taylor, associate dean of the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology (WCBT) said Gramegna’s lecture was enlightening. “Minister Gramegna’s visit provided an excellent opportunity for our students and faculty to hear perspectives from a European leader on an array of topics, including what may be the most pressing issue of our lifetime, the climate crisis. The intersection of finance and sustainability is an important area, and the minister provided everyone who attended with much to think about,” Taylor said.
Sacred Heart, as part of Luxembourg’s business and educational landscape, is doing its part to promote a green environment, Taylor said. “Working with the Luxembourg business community and government, the WCBT is committed to creating more sustainable business practices to address the climate crisis. With initiatives such as our ‘Sustainability in Action’ leadership platform, which has led to the creation of courses focused on green and sustainable business practices, SHU is working toward a better future, and we will continue to work with Mr. Gramegna and the ministry of finance to find innovative solutions to sustainability challenges.”
You can find the original article on Sacred Heart University website.