Briefing Paper

Paola Subacchi, Benedicta Marzinotto and Vanessa Rossi
  • With the euro approaching the tenth anniversary of its establishment, this is a timely as well as critical moment to review policies and performance. Enough experience of the convergence and adjustment processes has been gained to better understand how they work and what problems have been created rather than solved. As the strengths - and the success - of the euro become more visible, so too do its weaknesses and the conflicts it creates.
  • Are the appropriate mechanisms and governance in place to help manage Europe's economy so that it can realize its potential? Governance is critical because of the institutional complexity of the monetary union. Independent policy targets and policy instruments not only have to be consistent with each other, but also need to be integrated in a nonconflicting framework.
  • There are two threads to this debate: convergence and adjustments across the euro area, and how the region as a whole is performing with regard to the rest of the world. Both imply a new approach to governance.
  • When EMU was established, the euro area comprised 11 founding members. Now it comprises 15 and is slowly expanding. Ten years ago the emergence of China was more a possibility than a reality, while the 'Asian Tigers' were coming to terms with a devastating financial crisis. Now the rise of the emerging market economies and the enlargement of the global economy's playing field pose significant challenges to the competitiveness of the euro area. With the euro now becoming the second pillar of the international monetary system, EMU's external dimension has become very relevant.
  • The way forward needs to blend the traditional concerns for macroeconomic stability and competitiveness with the more recent concern about the role of Europe in the global economy. All these dimensions need to be organized into a coherent agenda. The right policy should be implemented at the right time.