European monetary system and european currency

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Taking the current situation as a starting point, the Eurosystem's position concerning the future international role of the euro is crystal clear: we shall not adopt a belligerent stance in order to force the use of the euro upon the world economy. We are convinced that the use of the euro as an international currency will come about anyway. It will happen spontaneously, slowly but inexorably, without any impulses other than those based on free will and the decisions of market participants, without any logic other than that of the market. In other words, the internationalisation of the euro is not a policy objective of the Eurosystem; it will neither be fostered nor hindered by us. The development of the euro as an international currency will be a market-driven process, a free process, which will take place, without a doubt.

Factors determining the importance of the euro in the world economy

We understand that the euro fulfils the necessary conditions to become a leading international currency with the US dollar and not against it. There is enough room for both currencies in the world economy.

The necessary conditions for a currency to become an international currency are based on two broad factors: low risk and large size. The low risk factor is related to the confidence inspired by the currency and its central bank, which in turn mainly depends on the internal and external stability of the currency. The low risk factor tends to lead to diversification among international currencies, since diversification is a means to reduce the overall risk; it acts, so to speak, as a centrifugal force. By contrast, the large size factor relates to the relative demographic economic and financial importance of the area which supports the currency; in other words, the "habitat" of the currency. The large size factor generally tends to lead to centralisation around one or several key international currencies. It can be seen as a centripetal force, as a virtuous circle, which will tend to lead to an increasing use of the euro as an international currency. Let us consider these two factors in more detail.

The stability of the currency and the credibility of the ECB

The first factor concerns low risk, credibility and stability. The stability of the euro is a priority for the ECB. Compared with the idea of stability, the strength of the euro is of lesser importance. This does not mean that the exchange rate of the euro does not constitute an element to be considered in the monetary policy strategy of the ECB. However, the basic factor that will determine the importance of the euro as a widely used currency in the world economy, in addition to the demographic, economic and financial dimensions of the euro area, is, without a doubt, the stability of the new currency, understood as a means to maintain the purchasing power of savings.

In the global economy the transmission of financial crises by means of different mechanisms (devaluations of weak currencies, subsequent increases in interest rates, etc.) is frequently mentioned. Less is said about the spillover or transmission of positive economic circumstances, such as stability. The Eurosystem will "export" stability to the rest of the world economy, and not only in the case of those countries which decide to tie their currencies, formally or otherwise, to the euro (through the ERM II or other arrangements). In a global economy the euro area cannot be an island of stability, but it can transmit its stability to the rest of the world economy as the links between regions increase.

Stability is the basic requirement for a good currency. It is what we at the ECB want for the euro. We want a stable euro, not necessarily a strong euro. In the long term the euro will derive strength from its stability.

The stability of the euro is the basis for the confidence in and the credibility of the ECB, without which a large international role for the euro would be unthinkable. Stability is the proof of the effectiveness of the institution. Yet in order to be credible it is not sufficient for the ECB to maintain stability. Other parameters of its action must be considered: accountability, transparency and communication, a Europe-wide perspective.

The conditions for the credibility of the euro are certainly demanding. However, the achievement of these conditions is the aim of all those of us who have responsibilities in relation to the operation of the Eurosystem.

The "habitat" of the euro

The second factor, which we have called the large size factor or the habitat of the euro, is important because without a certain critical mass, a currency cannot have international relevance, however high its degree of stability. In addition to quality, quantity is required, as suggested by the example of the reduced degree of international use of the Swiss franc in relation to other stable currencies, such as the US dollar or the Deutsche

Реферат опубликован: 12/08/2008