European Monetary System’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Topics: Inflation, Bretton Woods system, Currency Pages: 4 (970 words) Published: June 28, 2008
Drawing lessons from history, determine the European Monetary System’s strengths and weaknesses.

The European Monetary System was a reaction to the large exchange rate variability of Community currencies during the 1970s, at the beginning this system was neglect of experience and full of scepticism but in the time of its life showed an ability to survive and its resilience.

The EMS was instituted in 1979 and its heart was the ERM (Exchange Rate Mechanism), an adjustable peg system, which was seen as a big impact for the integration process in Europe. The countries who participated in the ERM determined an official rate for all the currencies, and a band around these central rates within which the exchange rates could fluctuate freely (cf. De Grauwe, 2005, p. 120).

During the life time of the EMS, the world economy has passed through a period of exceptional instability, with large swings in the main currencies’ exchange rates and rapid disinflation, together with the build-up of unprecedented imbalances in the leading countries’ external payments (cf. Giavazzi, Micossi, Miller, 1989, p. 52).


While several strains have occasionally arisen, the EMS has on the whole been remarkably prospering in resisting exchange-rate variations when these were not warranted by fundamentals, managing central-rate realignments (relatively) smoothly, and foresting the convergence of inflation performances.

In the case of the EMS experience, most observers tend to conclude that the exchange-rate regime helped the high-inflation economies. They have described the EMS as an arrangement for France and Italy to purchase a commitment to low inflation by accepting German monetary policy in 1987. Even in countries considering EMS membership the main advantages of membership are associated with Germany’s reputation.

The ERM represent for the members the independence of the dollar because the system was entirely European, it was no more connection or...

Bibliography: •Baldwin, Richard.; Wyplosz, Charles. (2006), The Economics of European Integration, 2nd Edition, London: McGraw-Hill.
•De Grauwe, Paul. (2005), Economics of Monetary Union, 6th Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
•Giavazzi, Francesco, Micossi Stefano, Miller Marcus, The European Monetary System, 1st Edition, New York: Cambrigde University Press.
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