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Four students of the Vienna University of Economics and Business won the CEFER Challenge, which received a rather significant number of participants this year. In this annual competition, students are encouraged to study and search for original solutions on the issues of euro area macroeconomics, the Eurosystem and the implementation of monetary policy.

“We are glad that we organised the third CEFER Challenge. In Lithuania, we say that the first time is a happenstance, the second time is a coincidence, and the third time – it is already a tradition. The number of participants shows that this challenge is attractive and valuable to students. I hope that this tradition will be successfully continued,” said Julita Varanauskienė, Deputy Chair of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, congratulating the students.

This year’s CEFER Challenge received even more submissions than last year. As many as thirteen teams from eight countries of the European Union submitted video presentations. The theme of this year’s challenge called for examining the economic and financial consequences of geoeconomic fragmentation for the euro area.

Five teams from Lithuanian universities also participated in the challenge. The Vilnius University team made it to the second round.

At the beginning of May, the six finalist teams participated in a livestream Q&A session. The jury selected the winners. The winning team consisted of Leandro Bischof, John Ledvinsky, Christoph Walch and Diego Ubierna Fonfría. Three students from the same Vienna University of Economics and Business won the second place, and three students from the Stockholm School of Economics were awarded honorary degrees.

“It is an honour to have the opportunity to engage in political discussions. I really enjoyed this challenge, it was useful to hear the point of view of other teams and get involved in real problems,” said one of the members of this year’s winning team.

The organisers of the CEFER Challenge emphasised that this challenge contributed to the dissemination of the activities of CEFER and contribution to the development of economic science not only in Lithuania, but also at the international level. Its popularity is expected to increase every year.

During the presentation, the winning team discussed various aspects of how geoeconomic fragmentation can affect the macroeconomy. Using micro-level data, the students showed that trade policy uncertainty could lead banks to tighten lending criteria, dampen corporate investment decisions and put pressure on the macroeconomy.

Another participant in the Challenge said that it was a great learning experience for all the teams involved, and it was useful to prepare the presentation and hear the presentations of the other teams.

Teams were judged on their economic analysis, answers to the jury’s questions, teamwork and presentation. The judges at the final stage of the competition were Julita Varanauskienė, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, Aurelija Proškutė, Head of CEFER and the Applied Macroeconomic Research Division, Antanas Bielinis, representative of Nasdaq Vilnius AB, and Rūta Krisčiūnaitė from Invest Lithuania.