The second joint conference organised by the Croatian National Bank (CNB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) focused on labour market and demographic challenges in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (CESEE), the future of labour, and policies needed to sustain growth and reach Western European levels of income. The conference included addresses by Andrej Plenković, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia; Boris Vujčić, Governor of the Croatian National Bank; and Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF. Moreover, Christian Dustmann (UCL) delivered a key-note talk on migration in Europe.
Piotr Lewandowski participated in the panel session on the economic expansion and labour market bottlenecks in CESEE. He spoke about factors behind the medium-term improvement on the Polish labour market, and argued that the educational upgrading of the workforce and strong labour demand driven by growth and European integration played key roles. He also highlighted that the recent decreases of unemployment to historic lows are to some extent driven by declining labour force participation. He also stressed that in order to improve employment outcomes in CESSE, policies aimed at improving housing accessibility, developing commuting and transport networks, and boosting agglomeration effects may be more useful than changes in policies and institutions directly pertaining to the labour market, such as employment protection legislation.
The other panel discussions were focused on the population ageing and emigration, and on digitisation, technological progress as well as the role of government policies and the private sector in addressing adverse demographic trends and increasing productivity.