Thursday, February 23, 2012

MTF - Rpf. A09460 PRIME MINISTER European Issues

Rpf. A09460
European Issues


This isa major issue in its own right which Ministers will wish to consider carefully. The EMS started on 13 March 1979. The UK does not participate in the exchange rate and intervention mechanism but does participate in other aspects, notably the introduction and development of the ECU (the European Currency Unit, a basket unit comprising weighted proportions of all Community currencies), the expansion of the Community's medium term credit facility and the long term goal (scheduled for two years after the start of the system) of the creation of a European Monetary Fund.

An early question the UK faces is whether to deposit 20 per cent of our gold and dollar reserves with the European Monetary Co—operation Fund in return for which, we shall receive ECUs. We can do this at any time, but if an affirmative decision is taken there would be political advantage in making these deposits at the earliest moment since this action would help to confirm that the UK does have a commitment to the EMS even though we are not participating in the exchange rate mechanism.

The EMS will be discussed at the Finance Councils on 14 May, 18 June and 16 July. ' In September 1979 there will be a review of the functioning of the divergence indicator, an aspect of the EMS which has been considered to be of particular importance to the UK in that it is a way of putting pressure on strong currencies corresponding to the pressure weaker currencies experience in using reserves to maintain their levels within the margins. The review provides a natural occasion for re—examination of the question of UK participation in all aspects of the EMS...."


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