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By D. Howarth

The common sense in the back of ecu financial cooperation and integration can in simple terms be understood via an exam of French efforts to maximize their financial energy with regards to Germany and the USA. This publication offers an in depth and historically-informed examine of the explanations and financial and political attitudes that formed French coverage on ecu advancements over a thirty 12 months interval, from the cave in of the foreign financial procedure within the overdue Sixties and early Nineteen Seventies via to the beginning of EMU on 1 January 1999.

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Extra resources for The French Road to the European Monetary Union

Example text

Third, [it] can seek to suppress its external imbalance directly by adopting selective measures aimed at particular classes of international transactions. . Fourth, a country can seek to adjust the imbalance directly by changing its exchange rate. (Bergsten, 1975; 1996, pp. 12±19) French governments opted for all four responses at various times, depending upon the prevailing economic attitudes of the moment and the domestic political situation. However, their support for European monetary co-operation, the move from the fixed-but-adjustable EMS to the fixed exchange rate regime and then the EMU project, depended upon the increased emphasis placed upon the second response.

Moreover, the French insisted that strong currency central banks should also assume responsibility for maintaining weak currencies within Snake fluctuation margins. The Germans blocked progress on the first French demand. 25 per cent fluctuation margins around the ECU, the value of which was to be set by a weighted average of European currencies. On the third, a condition behind French support for the EMS was that the Germans accept the obligation of strong currency central bank intervention (Ludlow, 1982).

The uneven impact of dollar fluctuations upon European currencies and the resulting speculation crises encouraged French governments to support European monetary co-operation. The more purely economic motives were to shield the franc from speculation and to spread the burden of defending the franc as a weak currency to strong currency country members of the EMS. This motive also encouraged the development of strong franc policies as a means of building the credibility of the franc in order to discourage speculation.

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