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The Swiss Participation in the European Payments Union 1950-1958


Gunter Schwerdtel

Switzerland used the OEEC and its monetary counterpart, the EPU, to overcome her post-World War II isolation. The debate on joining caused fierce arguments about the pros and cons of a multilateral conduct of Swiss foreign economic policy and its consequences for the currency. The EPU's objective was to enable currencies to return to convertibility. Consequently, the Swiss representatives developed the 'evolutionary' approach of gradually hardening the member currencies, contrasting with the British approach that favoured rapid transition. However, neutrality remained the priority of Swiss foreign policy, as interventions against the merging of OEEC and NATO show. Switzerland regretted the EPU's dissolution, thinking that this circle of great homogeneity was better suited for monetary policy cooperation than the IMF. The book ends with a reference to East European monetary problems.
Contents: Switzerland and the Marshall Plan: Bilateralism versus Multilateralism, Quick Return to Currency Convertibility or Gradual Hardening? Swiss Neutrality and Payment for Arms, the EPU and the Monetary Difficulties in the East.