Brookings Institution hosts Henri de Castries, CEO of AXA Group
The Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution welcomed Henri de Castries, CEO of AXA Group, on September 17 for the 12th annual Raymond Aron Lecture, "Restoring European economic leadership." At the event, de Castries outlined current challenges facing Europe as well as his ideas on how the continent may restore its power within the global economy.
The business leader asserted that these challenges are strategic, demographic and economic in nature. De Castries spoke about the threatening of essential European values by terrorism and the growth of populist parties. Additionally, he said that youth unemployment, coupled with little investment in technology, has stifled the growth of the European economy.
De Castries recognized that Europe, and particularly France, remains attractive thanks to its qualified workforce, globally successful companies and the significant number of international students it trains every year. In order to improve European economic leadership, de Castries recommended that the continent focus more on education, competitiveness and security.
The CEO of AXA also spoke about the role that the private sector will play at the COP21 UN Global Climate Conference in Paris, noting that "businesses are starting to be engaged stakeholders in climate change." Donald Kohn, a senior fellow in Economic Studies at Brookings and former vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, also took part in the panel discussion moderated by Washington Post contributing editor Jim Hoagland.