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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: August 2020

1 - The Preparation of the European Economic and Monetary Union

from Part I - The Historical and Institutional Background

Summary

Chapter 1 describes the path that brought to the current European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). In contrast to a common tradition and culture, based on largely similar philosophical and religious foundations, Europe has a history of fierce opposition and wars among national states that culminated in World War II. An important impulse to some kind of European cooperation came exactly from the attempt to counter this tradition of conflicts, even if the past was still weighing. This largely explains the long process through which European institutions have reached their current state as well as their “incompleteness.” The cooperation evolved from the European Coal and Steel Community (1951), having a limited coverage, but active inter-country coordination and cooperation and limits to free market, to the European Economic Community (1957), with a larger coverage, but a free-market orientation in all fields. This partially changed with the Maastricht Treaty (originating the European Union(EU) and the EMU), with the introduction of common monetary policy and some constraints on national fiscal policies (1992). The former now gathers 28 countries. The latter had only 11 members when it started in 1999 and has now enlarged to 19.