History of the European Monetary Integration

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1 History of the European Monetary Integration European Payment Union ( ) Facilitated multilateral clearing of payment imbalances. The Bank of International Settlements acted as a clearing house. European Monetary Agreement ( ) Many European currencies became convertible. The Agreements facilitated central banks in making settlements in gold and dollars. Bretton Woods Agreement ( ) Currencies were allowed to fluctuate by ±1% with respect to the dollar. European currencies could fluctuate as much as 4% with each other. With the Smithsonian Agreement on December 1971, the band was enlarged to ±2.25% 1

2 Basle Agreement (Snake in the Tunnel ) (1972) EC currencies jointly moving within a dollar tunnel. Bilateral exchange rates with respect the dollar ±2.25%. Bilateral exchange rates among European currencies ±1%. Intervention mechanism and monetary support for member countries. Snake in the Tunnel Fluctuation band against the dollar ±2.25% Bilateral band among European currencies ±1% 2

3 EU exchange rates with the dollar in the 60s and 70s EU curency for 1 dollar GERMANY FRANCE ITALY NETHERLANDS BELGIUM UNITED KINGDOM EU curency for 1 dollar EU exchange rates with the dollar in the 60s and 70s IRELAND DENMARK SPAIN SWEDEN FINLAND AUSTRIA 3

4 European Monetary System (1979) Currencies were allowed to fluctuate by ±2.25% with each other (Italy and UK ±6%). Possibility of realignments allowed within the EMS. Financing facilities were provided. Creation of the European Currency Unit (ECU) ECU composition in November 1996 National currency Belgium franc Danish krone French franc German mark Italian lira Irish pound Luxembourg franc Netherlands guilder British pound Greek drachma Spanish peseta Portuguese escudo Austrian schilling Finnish markka Swedish krone Units

5 Composition of ECU in November 1996 Portuguese escudo Spanish peseta Greek drachma British pound Netherlands guilder Luxembourg franc Irish pound Italian lira German mark French franc Danish krone Belgium franc Percentage Stage 1 (July 1990) Delors Report (1989) Plan for the realization of EMU Free movement of capital. Member states undertake programs that make possible fixed exchange rates. Stage 2 (January 1994) Creation of the European Monetary Institute (EMI) to: Coordinate monetary policies and ensure price stability. Prepare the establishment of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) overseen by the European Central Bank (ECB). Prepare the introduction of a single currency in stage 3. Examine the achievement of economic convergence among EU states as established by the Maastricht Treaty (1992). 5

6 Stage 3 (January 1999) Introduction of the single currency EURO. Establishment of the European Central Bank in charge of the European monetary policy. Price stability For the preceding year the average inflation rate must not exceed that of the best three states by more than 1.5%. Interest rate convergence For the preceding year the average long-term interest rate must not exceed that of the best three states (in term of inflation) by more than 2%. Budget discipline Government budget deficit must be less than 3% of GDP. Government debt cannot exceed 60% of GDP. Exchange rate stability Maastricht Treaty (1992) For the preceding two years no exchange rate realignments. 6

7 EU exchange rates with the dollar in the 80s and 90s EU curency for 1 dollar GERMANY FRANCE ITALY NETHERLANDS BELGIUM UNITED KINGDOM EU exchange rates with the dollar in the 80s and 90s EU curency for 1 dollar IRELAND DENMARK SPAIN SWEDEN FINLAND AUSTRIA 7

8 8

9 The EURO area 9

10 Costs and benefits of the Euro Benefits: Reduction in transaction costs. Elimination of the exchange rate risk. Greater competition leading to greater efficiency. Greater integration among the European financial markets and greater investment efficiency. Inflation discipline guaranteed by the independence of the European Central Bank. Fiscal discipline as a requirement to enter and stay in the system. Increase the urgency of structural reforms in Europe. Costs: The system of fixed exchange rates eliminate the possibility of using exchange rate adjustments as a policy tool in the presence of asymmetric shocks. Individual countries cannot use monetary policy to face country-specific shocks. Europe may not be an optimal currency area due to: Likelihood of asymmetric or country-specific shocks. Limited labor mobility. Structural labor market rigidities. Limited ability to use fiscal policy as a stabilization tool in absence of monetary independence. Absence of a system of fiscal redistribution to insure against regional/national shocks. 10

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