DP2252 | Towards A More Perfect EMU

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Publication Date

29/10/1999

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Abstract

This paper explores the unfinished business of preparing for an harmonious monetary union, "more perfect" than the coarse model set up in the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties. To start with, the ECB may fear that it has to live up to its stated lexicographic mission for fear of losing credibility in the crucial start-up phase. Next, the ECB will have to re-think its official determination to only care about average European conditions. Some form of "monetary federalism" is needed, and an example is provided, using estimated central bank reaction functions. Finally, the institutional set-up is too unwieldy to deliver a good policy mix and permit adequate accountability. One money is hardly compatible with eleven governments, twelve Central Bank Governors and twelve Parliaments, each of which would be unwilling to share some power. In particular, governments will have to decide whether to allow competition among national institutions, chiefly labour markets, or whether they will look for collusion to protect the least performing ones.