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Policy Contribution

The euro as an international currency

Is a more important international role for the euro worth pursuing? What measures would achieve this result, if it is worth pursuing?

By: and Date: December 18, 2018 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

Two questions should be answered in relation to the international role of the euro: is a more important international role for the euro worth pursuing, and what measures would achieve this result, if it is worth pursuing? The most significant benefit for the euro area if the euro played an increased international role would be less dependence on the dollar and a reduced ability of the United States to pursue its political objectives, which are possibly inconsistent with European Union objectives.

Historically, international functions have been shared between currencies and the international weights of currencies have evolved according to a limited number of variables. The most important of these are the economic size of the issuing country, the level of development and stability of the underlying financial market, openness to capital movements, a policy stance that encourages currency internationalisation, and political and military power. With the exception of financial stability, these factors do not vary substantially in the short run and give rise to persistent, long-term trends. Thus, in the first twenty years of its existence, the euro has consistently been the second most used international currency, while the dollar has maintained the first position it has held since the second world war.

The gap between the dollar and the euro is greatest in the invoicing of commodity trade and as vehicle for foreign exchange transactions, and smallest in cross-border payments. While the ranking of the dollar and the euro has not changed, the euro’s share has fluctuated, particularly in its use in international finance, in correlation with the stability of the euro financial market. This has confirmed that a necessary condition for the euro to play a greater international role is the stability of the euro-area financial system.

In addition, the completion of banking union, progress on capital markets union, the issuance of a common bond, and more generally the completion of the institutional architecture of the euro area and progress on a common foreign and defence policy, would promote a wider role for the euro. The European Central Bank should also move beyond its neutral attitude towards the international use of the euro.

Most of these policies would have effects well beyond the international use of the euro and, while in principle desirable, are not easy to achieve. Proposals on the international role of the euro published in December 2018 by the European Commission were the start of a journey rather than a decisive step towards a greater international role for the euro.

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Blog Post

For the euro there is no shortcut to becoming a dominant currency

As an international currency, the euro has always been a distant second to the dollar. The idea of a greater international role for the euro has been floated, but without major institutional reform, the euro will not become a dominant currency.

By: Grégory Claeys and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: October 13, 2020
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Parliamentary Testimony

European Parliament

Strengthening the international role of the euro

Testimony before the European Parliament on the International Role of the Euro.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Parliament, Testimonies Date: October 1, 2020
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External Publication

How Can the European Parliament Better Oversee the European Central Bank?

This paper, written at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, assesses how the European Parliament holds the European Central Bank accountable. The same exercise is done for the Bank of Japan, in order to identify possible lessons for the ECB and the European Parliament.

By: Grégory Claeys and Marta Domínguez-Jiménez Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance Date: September 23, 2020
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Past Event

Past Event

The Euro area after COVID-19 - a conversation with Mario Centeno

At this event we will welcome Mario Centeno to talk about his time as President of the Eurogroup and reflect on the future of the Euro area.

Speakers: Mário Centeno and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: July 1, 2020
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Policy Contribution

Is the COVID-19 crisis an opportunity to boost the euro as a global currency?

The euro never challenged the US dollar, and its international status declined with the euro crisis. Faced with a US administration willing to use its hegemonic currency to extend its domestic policies beyond its borders, Europe is reflecting on how to promote it currency on the global stage to ensure its autonomy. But promoting a more prominent role for the euro is difficult and involves far-reaching changes to the fabric of the monetary union.

By: Grégory Claeys and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance Date: June 5, 2020
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Opinion

The Independence of the Central Bank at Risk

The ruling of the German Federal Constitutional Court (GFCC) of May 5 on the ECB’s monetary policy affects not only the relation of Germany to the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) but also the constitutional foundations of monetary policy.

By: Peter Bofinger, Martin Hellwig, Michael Hüther, Monika Schnitzer, Moritz Schularick and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 2, 2020
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Policy Contribution

COVID-19’s reality shock for external-funding dependent emerging economies

COVID-19 is by far the biggest challenge policymakers in emerging economies have had to deal with in recent history. Beyond the potentially large negative impact on these countries’ fiscal accounts, and the related solvency issues, worsening conditions for these countries’ external funding are a major challenge.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Elina Ribakova Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation, Global Economics & Governance Date: May 28, 2020
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Past Event

Past Event

The Covid Crisis and European State Aid Rules: The Case for a Rational Approach

Considering a new approach to find the way out of the Great Financial Crisis.

Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 27, 2020
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Policy Contribution

European Parliament

The European Central Bank in the COVID-19 crisis: whatever it takes, within its mandate

To keep the euro-area economy afloat, the European Central Bank has put in place a large number of measures since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. This response has triggered fears of a future increase in inflation. However, the ECB's new measures and the resulting increase in the size of its balance sheet, even if it were to be permanent, should not restrict its ability to achieve its price-stability mandate, within its legal obligations.

By: Grégory Claeys Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament, Testimonies Date: May 20, 2020
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Opinion

The message in the ruling

The German Constitutional Court's ruling on the ECB's asset purchase programme is open to much criticism but it can hardly be blamed for raising an important question.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 12, 2020
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Blog Post

Banking regulation in the Euro Area: Germany is different

Despite progress in recent years towards a single banking policy framework in the euro area – a banking union – much of the German banking system has remained partly sheltered from uniform rules and disciplines that now apply to nearly all the area’s other banks. The resulting differences in regulatory regimes could generate vulnerabilities in the still-incomplete banking union, which is being tested in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By: Nicolas Véron Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 7, 2020
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Podcast

Podcast

An analysis of the German Constitutional Court's ruling on the ECB QE programme

The German Constitutional called today on the ECB to justify its bond-buying program. What does today's ruling of the German Constitutional Court mean for the ECB's QE program? Could such a decision open a precedent when it comes to contesting EU law? Today, Giuseppe Porcaro and Guntram Wolff are joined by Franz Mayer, chair of Public Law at the University of Belefield, to analyse the German Constitutional Court's ruling.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 5, 2020
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