Philippe Maystadt, one of the architects of modern Europe and a Senior Advisor at Avisa, has died aged 69. Avisa sends condolences to his family and friends and shares the sorrow at the death of one of the most profound and original thinkers about European financial and economic problems. During his distinguished career in public service, he served as head of the European Investment Bank (2001-2010).
“It is not just Avisa that has lost a great friend and wise counsellor, but all of Europe that is deprived of one of its sharpest brains and a principled visionary as the European Union enters a new era after Brexit and the arrival in France of President Macron,” said Jacques Lafitte, Founding Partner of Avisa Partners.
Maystadt was a serious economist who had a two-decade long career as a senior member of the government in Belgium, becoming a minister when Emmanuel Macron was in school and Angela Merkel a research physicist in East Germany. In 1990, Maystadt was named “Finance Minister of the Year” by Euromoney magazine. He served twice as deputy prime minister of Belgium, never the easiest of European nations to govern given the national and linguistic differences of culture and identity.
But he was the most open and effective of chairmen and presided successfully over meetings of the G-10 Council of Finance Ministers, the EU Economic and Financial Council of Ministers, and the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
He was popular, liked and respected by his peers, so for a very long term of five years he served on the key Interim Committee of the International Monetary Fund and was elected and then re-elected to serve for two terms as President of the European Investment Bank.
He was one of the main political voices in the creation and then successful introduction of the Euro, and his many languages and skills in reconciling opposites was crucial in his time as one of the midwives of the single currency.
“Philippe gave a memorable address at the Avisa annual reception in the Solvay Library in the spring of 2015. He had no illusions about the problems facing Europe and the huge political difficulties of getting 28 ministers of finance to work in harmony. He could see and think long-term and was not afraid of defending and promoting his intellectually rooted belief that a European Union was better for Belgium and its neighbours than a Europe of nationalisms and Brexiters. Philippe Maystadt was able to rise above the chatter and transitory problems of the uneven development of European nations and make the case better than most that cooperation and integration made sense for 21st century Europe,” said Jacques Lafitte.