Working paper

The international monetary system is changing: what opportunities and risks for the euro?

This working paper  argues that the international position of the US dollar is likely to erode in the coming years, though the speed of the proc

Publishing date
02 November 2011

After a thirty-year pause, discussions on the future of the international monetary system (IMS) have restarted. This is partly due to the fact that the IMS has facilitated, or at least not prevented, the economic and financial imbalances that led to the recent crisis.

This paper argues that the international position of the US dollar is likely to erode in the coming years, though the speed of the process is uncertain. This will create a demand for other currencies to be used internationally as means of payment and store of value. The most likely candidates for filling the partial vacuum created by the dollar’s decline are the euro and the Chinese renminbi. The probability that the renminbi will eventually become one of the world’s key currencies is very high, but the speed of the process is uncertain.

As far as the euro is concerned, much will depend on if and how the sovereign debt crisis is resolved. Our view is that the crisis will be dealt with and that it will result in radical steps towards fiscal and financial integration. If such steps are taken, the euro will secure both internal stabilisation and a growing international role.

About the authors

  • Ignazio Angeloni

    Ignazio Angeloni joined Bruegel as a visiting fellow in June 2008 and is currently a Member of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank. He has previously been the Director General - Financial Stability, Head of ECB preparation for the SSM, and Adviser to the ECB Executive Board on European financial integration, financial stability and monetary policy. He was the coordinator and contributor to the the G20 monitor.

    Before that, he was the Director for International Financial Relations at the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance.

    He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include macro economics, central banking, financial markets and the economics and politics of European integration.

  • André Sapir

    André Sapir, a Belgian citizen, is Senior Fellow at Bruegel. He is also University Professor at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Research Fellow of the London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research.

    Between 1990 and 2004, he worked for the European Commission, first as Economic Advisor to the Director-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, and then as Principal Economic Advisor to President Prodi, also heading his Economic Advisory Group. In 2004, he published 'An Agenda for a Growing Europe', a report to the president of the Commission by a group of independent experts that is known as the Sapir report. After leaving the Commission, he first served as External Member of President Barroso’s Economic Advisory Group and then as Member of the General Board (and Chair of the Advisory Scientific Committee) of the European Systemic Risk Board based at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

    André has written extensively on European integration, international trade, and globalisation. He holds a PhD in economics from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he worked under the supervision of Béla Balassa. He was elected Member of the Academia Europaea and of the Royal Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts.

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