The Marquette Department of International Business hosted a forum on the European debt crisis Tuesday, the first in what it hopes will be a series of such forums.
The event’s keynote speaker was Freddy Van den Spiegel, an economic adviser with Paribas Fortis, one of Europe’s largest banks.
The department chose the European debt crisis as the first topic of discussion because it is defining the tone of the international business community, said Jamshid Hosseini, a Marquette associate professor of management and the director of international business studies.
“The idea is that anything that happens to the public debt and to the sovereignty of these countries will impact the entire Eurozone,” Hosseini said. “And anything that impacts the Eurozone is going to impact the world, so that’s where the fears are.”
Hosseini said of the 17 countries that use the Euro as their currency, there are currently five on the bubble of bankruptcy: Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain. He said Greece is in the worst shape of the five.
“Right now all of the conversations are about Greece and how Greece is handling its public debt, and how it might affect the Euro and the Eurozone countries,” Hosseini said.
Van den Spiegel said the debt crisis is having major effects across the globe.
“The party is over,” he said. “It’s not another crisis. It’s a shift in the world economy.”
He said the road to adapt to the new global economic economy will be long and bumpy, but this doesn’t mean the economy will be weak this entire time. It does show, however, that uncertainty has replaced risktaking, a trend he said will characterize this new economy.
Also in attendance as panelists were Andrew Busch, a global currency and public policy strategist at financial services firm BMO Capital Markets; Ulice Payne, president of global trade group Addison-Clifton, LLC; and Mike Van Handel, the executive vice president and chief financial officer of business advisory firm ManpowerGroup.
After Van den Spiegel concluded the keynote, the event shifted to the panelist discussion. Busch said if the banks of Europe don’t start lending money, a revolution will soon follow.
Hosseini said the forums will raise public awareness of both the College of Business Administration and Marquette.
“The idea is to get people at these kinds of levels to come on campus, and for us to publicize the activity both in the business community and among our undergraduate and graduate students,” Hosseini said. “We (want to) get a conversation going on about hot topics in the world.”