Pierre Werner et l’Europe : pensée, action, enseignements – Pierre Werner and Europe: His Approach, Action and Legacy
The centenary of the birth of Pierre Werner (1913–2013) offered a timely opportunity to reflect on the personality and achievements of this politician from Luxembourg who left his mark on the future of his country and on the European integration process. On 27 and 28 November 2013, some 30 renowned experts and researchers including historians, economists, legal experts and political scientists, together with major players in economic and monetary affairs, assembled in Luxembourg for a conference during which they analysed Pierre Werner’s European vision and offered an international perspective on the relevance of his approach in light of the challenges facing us in the 21
The Werner Plan After the Euro
← 306 | 307 →The Werner Plan After the Euro
Lorenzo BINI SMAGHI
Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank(2005-2012)Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s WeatherheadCentre for International Affairs
This conference celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Pierre Werner. Other papers in this volume discuss the contribution that Pierre Werner made to the process of economic and monetary integration. I would simply like to make reference to a coincidence. Pierre Werner was born in the same year in which the Federal Reserve was created in the United States. It is an interesting coincidence, because American economic and political integration started much earlier, but it took quite a long time – over a century – for the US to agree to the creation of a central bank for the whole federation. The US economic and monetary union took a long time to be completed. The main message of my contribution is that it takes time to build up institutions. They do not always start as perfect constructions, and they sometimes need to be adapted over time. The Werner Plan initially failed, maybe because it was “too honest”, as Hanspeter Scheller suggested. But the euro nevertheless succeeded, maybe because it was a less perfect construction from the very start.
Is this a paradox? Is it unique to European integration? Or is this an intrinsic part of the process of institutional development inherent to democracies?
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