Policy Briefs

S. Micossi: An international role for the euro?

One proposition that commands universal agreement is that the euro deserves a greater international role, justified by the size of the European economy and the importance of its international trade and financial markets. And yet, as I will briefly summarize, the evidence is that nothing of the sort has been happening: after twenty years of existence, the euro’s use as an international currency is more or less comparable, in its various dimensions of currency use, to the combined role of the French franc and Deutsche mark before the euro’s inception. The relative weight of the dollar, on the other hand, has increased on many accounts.

Two questions arise in this context: the first one is whether and to what extent policy can change this state of affairs; the second is whether we Europeans really want this greater international role for our common currency, given its broader implications for internal macro-economic and regulatory policies. In this policy brief I will mainly dwell on the second question; however, some comments on the first one appear necessary to place the ensuing discussion in proper context.

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