European monetary system and european currency

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Thus far, I have largely discussed the goal of the single monetary policy. How is this goal to be achieved? At the heart of the answer to this question is the Eurosystem's monetary policy strategy. The strategy has two closely related aspects. First, the strategy must structure the monetary policy-making process in such a way that the Governing Council of the ECB is presented with the information and analysis required to take appropriate monetary policy decisions. Second, the strategy must ensure that policy decisions, including the economic rationale on which they are based, can be presented in a clear and coherent way to the public. The communication policy as part of the strategy obviously has to be consistent with the structure of the internal decision-making process.

In designing the Eurosystem's strategy, the Governing Council of the ECB recognised the new circumstances faced by monetary policy in the euro area. Where there were previously eleven open, generally small economies, there is now one large, relatively closed single currency area. The challenges implied by this transformation in the landscape of monetary policy are profound.

Relatively little is known as yet about the transmission mechanism of monetary policy in the euro area after the transition to Monetary Union. One important challenge for the Eurosystem is to obtain a better knowledge of the structure and functioning of the euro area economy and the transmission mechanism of monetary policy within it, so that policy actions can be implemented accordingly. Together with experts in the national central banks, the ECB has embarked on an intensive programme of analysis and research into these issues.

One obvious problem related to the fact that the euro area did not exist as a single currency area in the past regards the availability of statistical data. Compared with national central banks, we do not have the same amount of long historical time series of monetary and economic indicators, based on harmonised statistical concepts, at our disposal. However, we have already developed quite reliable estimates for a number of these historical series, and the quality and availability of current statistics on the euro area has increased significantly over the last few quarters, for example in the areas of money and banking and balance of payments statistics, but also across a wide range of economic statistics. This process of improving the quality and the availability of statistical data covering the euro area will continue.

It would have clearly been unwise for the ECB to develop a strategy which relies mechanically on the signals offered by a single indicator or forecast in order to take monetary policy decisions. Indeed, such a simplistic approach to monetary policy-making is unwise in all circumstances. Our knowledge of the structure of the euro area economy and the indicator properties of specific variables - although improving rapidly - is simply too limited.

The primary objective of monetary policy has been quantified with the publication of a definition of price stability, against which the Eurosystem can be held accountable. This definition illustrates our aversion to both inflation and deflation, since it defines price stability as annual increases of below 2% in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) for the euro area. To maintain price stability according to this definition, monetary developments are closely monitored against a quantitative reference value for the broad benchmark aggregate, M3. In parallel, a broadly based assessment of the outlook for price developments in the euro area is undertaken. This assessment encompasses a wide range of indicator variables, including inflation projections produced both inside and outside the Eurosystem. Using all this information, the Governing Council comes to a decision on the level of short-term interest rates that best serves the maintenance of price stability over the medium term.

On the basis of this strategy, I am confident that the Governing Council has taken - and will continue to take - appropriate monetary policy decisions. The effectiveness of these policy decisions will depend, in large part, on the credibility of the single monetary policy. Transparent and accountable policy-making can help to build up a reputation and, hence credibility. Transparency and accountability, in turn, rely on clear and effective communications between the Eurosystem and the public.

In this regard, the Eurosystem faces an especially formidable task. As mentioned earlier, the euro area currently consists of eleven different sovereign nations, each with its own distinct monetary history and heritage. With each policy announcement or Monthly Bulletin, the Eurosystem must thus communicate with the public of eleven different countries and must speak in all eleven different official languages of the European Union. Such a situation is unprecedented. This diversity of language, history and culture across the euro area raises further challenges for the ECB.

Реферат опубликован: 12/08/2008