Willem F Duisenberg: Some remarks on the euro in a US context
Speech by Dr Willem F Duisenberg, President of the European Central Bank, at a breakfast meeting
of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 19 April 2002.
"...The path towards a single currency was a tortuous one. The whole plan, laid down in the Werner Report, was put aside amid the global currency turmoil in the early 1970s and the subsequent economic recession. But the vision of establishing a single currency in Europe gained new momentum after the ratification of the Single European Act in 1987, which laid the foundations for the European Single Market. The idea, rightly so in my view, was that it would not be possible to reap all the benefits from an internal market if it were still subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Moreover, the free movement of capital, fixed exchange rates and sovereign national monetary policies were generally regarded as mutually incompatible. (A view first expressed by my colleague on the Executive Board of the ECB, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa). The initiatives taken at that time, however, would not have been possible without the political will and courage to create a single currency in Europe. Indeed, this process, which eventually led to the introduction of the euro banknotes and coins on 1 January of this year, required considerable resolve on the part of the German government..."