“It is time to say good-bye. After more than five years at the helm of the ECB on the wide seas, it is time to go back to harbour and drop anchor in calmer waters. The last five years were undoubtedly the peak of my career. It was an honour and privilege to be the first president of the European Central Bank, to be entrusted with the task of cultivating, defending and caring for the young European currency. History was written in Europe and I was at the heart of this event. I could not wish for more. In the coming years, history will be the judge of our success or failure. I hope it will be merciful…” (Wim Duisenberg at the dinner of the Council of ECOFIN, held in his honour on October 29th, 2003 in Venice.)
"...How does the first President of the ECB himself evaluate his performance? According to Duisenberg, his greatest achievement as President of the ECB was the smooth and problem-free introduction of the euro and its acceptance by the people of Europe. In one interview he admitted that the „preparations were extensive and even the ECB itself did not expect such a smooth process“. The ECB anticipated almost thirty crisis scenarios in order to be prepared to solve potential problems during the introduction of the common currency, but none of them occurred..."
"...His typical reply to the question of how he can resist the constant pressure from politicians to reduce interest rates was: "I hear them out, but I do not obey them"..."
"..."Stability and growth go hand in hand. But for growth there is also a strategy, a good one, agreed in Lisbon. I welcome the efforts that have already been made and that are being made to implement this strategy..."
"...The ministers of finance of the countries of the European Union should strictly observe the rules of the Pact for Stability and Growth. Otherwise they risk a dangerous loss of confidence in the EMU. This is a contract not just among governments but a contract with every single citizen of the euro area. It is on the basis of this contract that they have accepted the loss of their sovereignty."... "
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