April 2011: Make of it what you will

This month’s OMFIF Bulletin combines the practical with the visionary. Practical, because we include an up-to-date account of the trials facing economic and monetary union in Europe. Visionary, because we assemble a selection of articles that map out a course of action for behaviour by official and private institutions to reinforce the safety and reliability of financial markets. Without a doubt, the politicians behind EMU have recently made strides towards what our distinguished Advisory Board member Niels Thygesen calls a ‘proper set of fiscal and macro rules, which could well work – with support from the likely degree of market discipline.’ However, governments also have to confront their track record of having continually dashed hopes for improvement, summed up in Frits Bolkestein’s bitter description of EMU as a ‘boulevard of broken promises.’ Peter Warburton reminds us that previous efforts by the European Central Bank to take away the punch bowl at which market buffs are quaffing have triggered EMU crises. He fears Thursday’s ECB rate tightening could precipitate a similar reaction. The 23-25 March OMFIF meeting at the Nederlandsche Bank in Amsterdam was the occasion for sobering outpourings on the single currency, as our brief review of the gathering shows.

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