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The Euro Crisis and Its Aftermath$
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Jean Pisani-Ferry

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199993338

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199993338.001.0001

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The Last Utopia of the Century

The Last Utopia of the Century

Chapter:
(p.19) Chapter 2 The Last Utopia of the Century
Source:
The Euro Crisis and Its Aftermath
Author(s):

Jean Pisani-Ferry

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199993338.003.0002

The euro, the only transnational currency issued and managed by a single common institution, was the last utopia of the 20th century, a true economic utopia armed with its own rules and institutions. It was a complete economic and monetary revolution: a currency that did not rely on a state or on a commodity. The project behind the euro was born in the late 1980s, when Jacques Delors, then president of the European Commission, proposed it as the next step for Europe’s economic and political integration. There were reasons to be sceptical, but Europeans decided to push through with the project nonetheless. In Europe, there was strong preference for fixed exchange rates, and the subordination of other central banks to German monetary policy decisions was not a stable configuration. But there were also deeply political reasons to push through with the project, which German reunification helped to trigger.

Keywords:   euro, currency, economic utopia, Jacques Delors, Europe, economic integration, single market, Germany, monetary policy, exchange rates

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