After a reasonably sober account of ECB´s monetary policy during the two decades of existence,  Draghi´s Speech “Twenty Years of the ECB’s monetary policy” at the annual ECB Forum on Central Banking in Sintra (Portugal, June 18, 2019)  became “marketing” speech at the end, when he praised the four (questionable) “successes” of the euro times.

To say that the EMU economies had converged since inception of the euro because misalignments of real exchange rates are lower than those of other advanced economies is only part of the truth. Other real-economic indicators show a different picture. Europe still has deep running fault lines splitting the national economies.

No doubt the East-West gap has moderately closed in the last 20 years, not so the North-South divide. The gap closing is explained by the typical catch-up dynamics in the former communist countries, as it happened at the time with the Mediterranean laggards when they were admitted into the European Economic Union in the 80´s. Not much to do with the introduction of the euro.

The fact that the “EMU countries are now significantly more integrated with each other than the United States or China are with the rest of the world” is truly not a great achievement in itself, and even less after 60 years of common market and 20 of monetary union.

Finally, on the fourth achievement of increased employment, the sluggish growth after 2008, and continuing, does not speak well about the ability of the monetary union to create employment and prosperity, particularly if you compare Europe with other OECD members or even with other European non-EMU countries.

It is understandable that Mario Draghi wants to leave a good legacy behind when he steps down at the end of this year. However, in the final months of his tenure he should avoid tainting his reputation as a good scholar. He has been indeed the best Central Bank President the EMU has had during its 20-year-long existence. He is not resposible for the structural problems of the eurozone, nor should he take blame for not having solved them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s