Address delivered by Dr Willem F Duisenberg, President of the European Central Bank, on the occasion of a special ECOFIN dinner to pay tribute to his leadership of the European Central Bank, Venice, 29 October 2003.
"It is time to say goodbye. After more than five years of steering the ECB through the high seas, it is time for me to return to port and drop my anchor in more tranquil waters.
Over the past few weeks, a lot of people have asked me how I feel about retiring. I have told them that my feelings are mixed. Half of me, Wim Duisenberg the private man, wishes that I had gone already. As you know, I had announced my intention to retire already last July. But for the other half of me, Wim Duisenberg the central banker, it will be more difficult letting go.
Without a doubt, the last five years have been the pinnacle of my career. It has been an honour and a privilege to be the first President of the European Central Bank; to be bestowed the task of rearing, nurturing, and then guarding Europe’s young currency. Europe has made history and I have been given a place at the heart of it. I couldn’t ask for more than that. In years to come, history will be the judge of our success, or our failure. I hope that history will be kind..."