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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 25 ottobre 2013 alle ore 07:43.


Joerg Asmussen, 46, has the rare distinction of being a German central banker with an Italian education. In the early Nineties, he spent two years in Milan studying for a Master in Business Administration at Bocconi University (which tonight will award him the title of Alumnus of the year). One of the lasting legacies of that period is his knowledge of Italian, which, Asmussen says, he now occasionally uses to discuss matters with the president of the ECB, Mario Draghi.

In this interview, Asmussen declares himself optimistic on the ability of Italy to extricate itself from the crisis thanks to its strong entrepreneurship, provided it does not unravel the fiscal adjustment accomplished by the Monti government and adopts the structural reforms needed to foster innovation and improve competitiveness.

He maintains that the comprehensive assessment of banks, which the ECB launched Wednesday, has the potential to unlock credit to the real economy in the eurozone and that the ESM can act as a backstop to the European resolution authority. He also says the strong euro, yesterday at 1.38 to the dollar, is not a source of ‘specific worry' and is only a matter of concern as it factors into the ECB inflation forecast.

Why did you choose Italy for your MBA? Not an obvious choice for a German student.
And a very Northern German! I was born just two miles from the Danish border. It was part logic, part gut feeling. The logic was to learn a new language, besides English and French. I thought about going to Spain or Italy. And then the gut feeling said: go to Italy. The emotional relationship between the two countries goes back centuries: to Goethe's trip to Italy on one side; on the other there is Italy's admiration for how Germany functions.

What did you learn in your MBA that was useful in your future career, as you went into public service, in a different direction from the typical MBA?
The MBA was very useful, even if one worked in the public sector: you learnt management tools, about project management, personnel issues, marketing. What I really learnt was to value diversity, to deal with cultural diversity. In my MBA class there were people from almost 30 countries. And I learnt the value of cooperation and work in a team: you work on projects and case studies, solve problems, and in the end you only get one mark, as a team. I also learnt to live abroad. From the beginning people in Italy were very helpful, even when I only knew three words in Italian, and they encouraged me to speak Italian. We speak Italian, from time to time, with Mario Draghi.

The structure of the economy in Germany and Italy has similarities, in terms of the weight of manufacturing, the export orientation, and yet Germany is doing well and Italy is doing badly. Why?

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