Contemporary history of Europe

Epistemic communities in building EMU: Pierre Werner, Robert Triffin and Jean Monnet in European monetary cooperation.

On 8 October 1970 in Luxembourg, Pierre Werner officially presented the plan by stages for an economic and monetary union (EMU) in the European Community. This document was the result of seven months of discussions by a group of experts from the six Member States, chaired by the Luxembourg Prime Minister and Finance Minister. The Werner Report set out the broad lines, principles and stages of an EMU based on the principle of irreversibility and an approach rooted in perfect symmetry between the economic and monetary aspects, with political union as the ultimate objective. It provided for the creation of a “centre of decision for economic policy” that would be “politically responsible to a European Parliament” elected by universal suffrage, and a “Community system for the central banks”. It introduced the notion of strong macroeconomic governance, requiring the coordination of budgetary and monetary policies, and full financial integration. It also envisaged the involvement of the “social partners” (employers and unions) in defining economic and monetary policy, since the social dimension was seen as an intrinsic part of EMU.

Although it was ultimately not implemented, the Werner Report led to the creation of the European Monetary Cooperation Fund (EMCF) in 1973 in Luxembourg – the embryo of the future European Central Bank. This institutional architecture was inspired by the reflections on a European reserve fund initiated in 1948 by Robert Triffin and subsequently developed through his discussions with Jean Monnet and Pierre Werner. The three were committed to the European cause and shared the same vision of EMU, rooted in “perfect parallelism”, democratic strength and a social dimension. Robert Triffin and Jean Monnet, together with other members of Monnet’s Action Committee for a United States of Europe, intended to work on the strategy devised by Pierre Werner to build a political consensus around the report.

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