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Meeting Klaas Knot

The Governor of the Central Bank of the Netherlands spoke with 700 Italian students on the importance of young people acquiring sound economic and financial acumen, to therefore become freer citizens and achieve greater mastery over themselves

The Governor of the Central Bank of the Netherlands, Klaas Knot, spoke to an Odeon packed out with seven hundred Italian secondary school students, all guest of this “Young Factor” event promoted by the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani – Editori, chaired by Andrea Ceccherini, and supported by Intesa Sanpaolo, Monte dei Paschi di Siena and UniCredit. This meeting served as merely a continuation of the Osservatorio’s long standing commitment to civil and social improvement through increased economic and financial literacy among students.

This particular cycle of meetings can boast the Governor of the Bank of Italy, Ignazio Visco, Jean-Claude Trichet, former President of the European Central Bank, and the Governor of the Deutsche Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, among its previous speakers. ‘Young Factor’ is currently the leading economic and financial literacy initiative in the country due to the number of students enrolled from Italian secondary schools. In the 2015/16 academic year, a record 500,207 students were enrolled from Italian high schools, a remarkable figure when one takes into account the age of this project. In the course of his introductory remarks at the conference, the president of the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori, Andrea Ceccherini, stressed that “there is a direct relationship between financial stability on the one hand and economic and financial literacy on the other. When one is increased so is the other, and when economic and financial awareness is lower, crises are stronger. Is it a coincidence”, asked Ceccherini, “that the countries in Europe with the weakest economic and financial culture were the hardest hit by crisis? It’s likely that there is an inversely proportional relationship between the two: with less culture comes more crises.” As he continued his speech, Ceccherini pointed out that “the cost of economic and financial ignorance is a great one to our country. We need to react courageously and oppose ignorance with more education. All this is what forms our goal- to instruct the younger generations in financial economics, and thus make them more competitive and leave the crisis behind us as soon as possible.”.

The meeting, led by the director of the Quotidiano Nazionale Andrea Cangini, saw the governor of the Dutch central bank spurred on by questions from both Cangini and the students, dealing with various topics: Europe, the Euro, the global crisis of 2008, the outward image that Italy and Italians project, the Northern European situation, and the need for greater and financial education of our youth. “In Europe”, said Klaas Knot, “there is a financial and economic difference between the countries in the north of the continent and those in the south. However, Italy especially can play on a wealth of diversity. Italy has world-renowned brands, creative ability, and unique manufacturing design. This Italian wealth is thus competitive at an international level.” Turning to the youngsters present from schools up and down the country, Knot strongly emphasised that “‘economic and financial understanding is the key to developing an informed view. It’s knowledge that will be concretely useful during your lifetimes, whether it’s when you will purchase your first car or your first house, when you make your first investments and when you have to understand where to put your money. Something that you may have already begun to reap benefits from now as you are starting to have money of your own. A good economic and financial education is without doubt an important factor for general financial stability and is itself the foundation for responsible financial growth. For this reason, I believe that initiatives such as ‘Young Factor’, together with the Osservatorio’s other work, are really important for the development of younger generations.”.