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The History of the European Monetary Union

Comparing Strategies amidst Prospects for Integration and National Resistance

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Edited By Daniela Preda

The financial and economic crisis that hit Europe in 2009 brought out the precariousness of the monetary union, accentuating the economic disequilibrium among European nations and strengthening Euro-skepticism.

The crisis served as a catalyst for long-standing and unresolved problems: the creation of a singly monetary area with intergovernmental control, the final act in the construction of a Europe economically united but without a government and a state; the consequent discrepancy between forming a consensus that remains in large part national and the political dynamics in Europe; the sustainability of a monetary union in the absence of an economic-social union, which presents again the long-standing debate between "monetarist" countries and "economist" countries.

This book aims at placing current events within a long-term framework composed of a mosaic of multidisciplinary contributions that can provide the reader with keys which are adequate for an understanding of these events and useful for opening up new horizons.

The book begins with a look at 20th-century monetary unification projects in an attempt at reconstructing the long road toward the single currency: the first monetary unification projects in the 1950s and 1960s; the turbulence of the 1970s; the new impetus given by the European Monetary System to the cohesion among European countries; the causes of the 1992 crisis; and the long struggle for the Monetary Union, which would end at Maastricht. Finally, it focuses on the most recent events – the creation of the Eurozone and its crisis – starting from the turbulent years of the first decade of the new millennium and ending on May 31, 2016, just before the Brexit referendum.

The book focuses on analyzing the strategies undertaken during the monetary unification process, underscoring, on the one hand, the conviction of the Founding Fathers of the EMU that a single currency would favor further progress toward a more stringent economic and political integration, and on the other the continuing national resistance to the transfer of sovereignty from the national states to the European Union.

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Opening Address (Realino Marra)

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Opening Address

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for your invitation, and a special heartfelt thanks to Professor Daniela Preda.

I bring you greetings from the School of Social Sciences, the coordinating structure of the Departments of Political Science, Economics, Law, and Teacher Education of the University of Genoa.

Also let me express my delight in seeing among the key participants in these days, along with some distinguished Italian and European scholars, many illustrious professors from our School.

At this difficult present time – in these years especially – we need a historical perspective in order to speak about Europe, and in particular about its economic and monetary policy.

We need this in order to attempt an objective evaluation of the development of the European project – one far removed from daily controversies and using the tools of critical analysis concerning, on the one hand, the ideas of the founding fathers (although these cannot always be integrated in a unitary picture) and, on the other, the issues connected with the recent global economic development. This last is distinguished by an interconnectedness of economies and cultures unprecedented in human history, as well as by the growth of the financial dimension in economic processes and, finally, by a severe crisis that began many years ago. A crisis of which it’s hard to see the end, especially in Europe and in our own country.

These are clearly very complex issues and...

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