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From Europe to the Eur o Erica Edwards Center for European Studies University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Presentation on theme: "From Europe to the Eur o Erica Edwards Center for European Studies University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill."— Presentation transcript:

1 From Europe to the Eur o Erica Edwards Center for European Studies University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2 Plan of Attack Stewart and Colbert on the Euro Quiz – The Nuts of Bolts of the Euro National preferences and international institutions – negotiating the Maastricht Treaty and EMU Transitioning to the Euro Q&A

3 Nuts and Bolts of the Euro A quiz

4 1. What was the start date of Economic and Monetary Union? a)Jan 1980 The first major monetary policy initiative (1970 Werner Plan) called for EMU by Jan 1980, but adverse economic conditions doomed the initiative. b) Jan 1999 Correct. EMU officially started on Jan 1, 1999. Conversion rates were irrevocably fixed and legislation related to introduction of the euro came into force. c) Jan 2002 Circulation of euro banknotes began.


6 2. How many countries are currently in the euro area? a)27 Number of current EU member states. b) 11 Number of countries that originally joined in 1999. c) 16 Correct. As of 2009, 16 EU member states are part of the euro area

7 1999Belgium, Ireland, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland 2001Greece 2007Slovenia 2008Cyprus, Malta 2009Slovakia

8 The “Outs” Britain, Denmark, Sweden, and most of Eastern Europe remain outside of euro To join would need popular support and low budget deficits Britain and Sweden unlikely to join unless economy tanks Eastern European countries perhaps more likely to join as they meet criteria

9 3. What were the set of rules set out for entry into the European Monetary Union? a)Copenhagen Criteria The political, economic, and legislative requirements that countries must meet to join the EU. b) Stability and Growth Pact Pact enacted in 1997 to ensure that fiscal discipline would be maintained and enforced in the EMU. c) Convergence Criteria Correct. The 1992 Maastricht Treaty set out 5 criteria that countries needed to meet prior to joining the EMU.

10 The So-Called “Maastricht Criteria” Inflation rates: No more than 1.5 percentage points higher than the average of the 3 best performing (lowest inflation) member states of the EU. Government finance: Annual government deficit: Ratio of the annual government deficit to GDP must not exceed 3% at the end of the preceding fiscal year. Government debt: Ratio of gross government debt to GDP must not exceed 60% at the end of the preceding fiscal year. Exchange rate: Applicant countries should have joined the exchange- rate mechanism (ERM II) under the European Monetary System (EMS) for 2 consecutive years and should not have devalued its currency during the period. Long-term interest rates: The nominal long-term interest rate must not be more than 2 percentage points higher than in the 3 lowest inflation member states.


12 4. Who sets interest rates in the EMU? a)The European Council Determines membership in the eurozone. b) Member States Manage national fiscal policies within EU limits.. c) The European Central Bank Correct. ECB controls interest rates for euro. Independent of political authorities; goal is low inflation. d) The European Parliament Not important here.

13 The European Central Bank Established under the Amsterdam Treaty (1998) Modeled after the German Bundesbank Headquartered in Frankfurt Current president Jean-Claude Trichet The primary objective of the ECB is to maintain price stability within the Eurozone, or in other words to keep inflation low!!

14 5. What is the current dollar-euro exchange rate? a)86 cents January 2002 b) $1.59 July 2008. c) $1.27 Correct.


16 National preferences & international institutions Negotiating the Maastricht Treaty

17 Why would governments agree to abandon their national currencies, and thus their ability to implement an autonomous monetary policy, in favor of a single currency? Answer: the benefits outweighed the costs

18 Benefits of Monetary Union Benefits of a single currency include: Promote trade and investment Eliminates competitive devaluations Tied Germany to west after unification Insulates EU from rest of world Locks in objectives of low inflation and smaller budget deficits

19 Costs of Monetary Union Countries joining monetary union must: Agree to share authority over interest rates, the single most important tool of economic policy Give up ability to devalue currency Agree to EU limits on overall fiscal policy stance (i.e. limit budget deficits)

20 A Single Currency - Competing Models Technocratic Priority of monetary integration should be to maintain low inflation. Authority over monetary policy should be invested in a political independent central bank directed to keep inflation low. EU should have strict rules limiting size of budget deficits. Politicized Priority of monetary integration should be to promote growth and employment. Governments need to coordinate all tools of economic policy – fiscal, monetary, exchange rate – to achieve these goals.

21 And the winner is…. Outcomes of negotiations for the Maastricht Treaty favored the technocratic German view: Politically independent ECB tasked with keeping inflation low Convergence criteria Only Britain and Denmark allowed not to participate (French victory) Deadline for creation of single currency (small victory for the French)

22 Why did Maastricht So Closely Match German Preferences? Two possible explanations: Idea Diffusion Domestic Politics & Bargaining Power

23 Transition to Monetary Union Rough Seas or Smooth Sailing?

24 The backlash begins… 1992/93 marks end of public’s “permissive consensus” European project finally starts to hit home for citizens (i.e. touches their daily lives)  react by objecting to technocratic, elite- driven nature of integration process Ratification problems: – the Danish “no” – the French “petit oui” – German constitutional woes

25 Joining the Euro As late as 1995, only 3 countries had met the convergence criteria: Ireland, Luxembourg, Finland In 1998 decided that all countries wanting to join passed muster…with the exception of Greece.

26 How did countries like Italy, Belgium, France, Germany meet the most important fiscal criteria? Cheating Large-scale privatization to increase income Italy introduced a “euro tax” Fear of exclusion from euro to gain domestic political support for cuts Pro-European government in Italy with supports that wanted to reduce deficits France ran a deficit of 3.07% of GDP and dared anyone to keep them out!

27 Designing the Euro Sign “ Inspiration for the € symbol itself came from the Greek epsilon (Є)– a reference to the cradle of European civilization – and the first letter of the word Europe, crossed by two parallel lines to ‘certify’ the stability of the euro.” – European Commission

28 Designing the Currency


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