What the future of small states in Europe looks like

The 5th CEPROM/ECAEF Conference took place on 9 December 2021 at the Musee Oceanographique in Monaco.

Big size is often propagated as an answer to globalization. The success of Liechtenstein, Monaco or Switzerland, on the other hand, points in a different direction. But these small countries do not act alone in an empty space.

Does technological progress make borders disappear, and does this mean that the future belongs to the big players? No doubt small countries face big challenges. This perfectly explains why the Princely Houses of Liechtenstein and Monaco jointly organized a conference in Monte Carlo. CEPROM (Center of Economic Research for Monaco, MC) and ECAEF (the liberal think-tank European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation) teamed up to find answers to what future small states in Europe still have.

ecaef ceprom conference 2021
“People who intend only to seek their own benefit are led by an invisible hand to serve a public interest which was no part of their intention. I say that there is a reverse invisible hand: People who intend to serve only the public interest are led by an invisible hand to serve private interests, which was no part of their intention”. Milton Friedman (1912-2006)

In view of the current pandemic, yet again the subject of this year’s conference was highly topical. Can, should or must a state mandate its citizens to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in the Public Interest? Is it in the Public Interest to restrain a person’s freedom by infringing on some fundamental constitutional rights? Should governments finance the purchase of a rare painting, subsidize the export of wine or rescue a national airline in the Public Interest but at the taxpayer’s expense? Is the funding of higher education serving the Public Interest or is it more self-serving than altruistic? In other words, is the Public Interest always in the public’s interest?

Read the following introduction that Prof. Kurt Leube gave at this year’s CEPROM/ECAEF Conference (download PDF, 46kb) ->

What is the Public Interest and What does it Mean?
A brief introduction to the V. CEPROM/ECAEF Conference