Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-07-05-Speech-3-027"

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"Mr President, I should like to thank Mr Radwan for the quality of his report on the first financial year of the Central Bank since the introduction of the euro. His efforts are commendable. One senses a diffuse anxiety seeping through his report which contrasts happily with the steadfast optimism of the various advocates of the euro, together with reaffirmation – somewhat timid but reaffirmation nonetheless – of a few basic principles, all of which are superfluous. Mr Radwan will go down in history for having reminded us that the independence of the Central Bank is not to be equated with accountability but, on the contrary, implies maximum transparency, mainly in order to make up, he should have added, for its lack of legitimacy. Alas, Mr Radwan, you see all the symptoms, but you cannot bring yourself to name the genetic disease afflicting the euro and provoking the scepticism of the markets, which have devalued it by 20%, indifference on the part of the economic players, who have yet to adopt it, the distrust of the citizens: in the last survey, 41% of Europeans already thought that the euro was a bad thing for them and, admit it, there were signs of panic among the euro supervisory authorities, 18 months before the planned withdrawal of the national currencies. Add to that the increasing hostility of the British and the persistent distrust of the Danes, which I hope to see confirmed on 28 September. The initial cause of the punishment currently being inflicted on the European currency stems, of course, from the conditions in which it was born. Conceived in haste by France and Germany following German reunification, followed by nine other countries, the so-called single currency was immediately put out for adoption by the political authorities to an independent bank, poor little Cosette sent to the Ténardiers in Frankfurt! One can understand why the child is sickly, under the circumstances. According to the Cardinal of Retz, in politics, you often end up with the opposite of what you were seeking. It is the independence of the ECB, advocated in order to reassure the markets, which is worrying them. The Federal Reserve was born when the United States was over a century old and after the American Civil War and it acts not totally, but relatively independently within what I would call a single pool of feelings, i.e. within a single country. With no such foundation, the Central Bank is not independent, it is isolated. Its message is doomed to failure. It can only speak the language of the markets, what one French journalist calls eurodosh, not the language of the people, as a result of which the euro is merely a currency of loans which has become the toy of the markets instead of being the business of the Europeans. Perhaps your euro will rally, Mr Duisenberg, but it will not be thanks to you. It will be because the dollar has fallen. So, for pity's sake, between now and then, do not out of wounded pride throttle a European economy which has already paid a heavy price in the chase for the euro in terms of growth and employment throughout the 1990s and which does not want to pay a second, equally heavy price in the chase for a strong euro. If you do, then do not complain if governments come running back and fight you for your premature independence and illusory sovereignty or, in other words, if Jean Valjean finally comes and takes Cosette away from you."@en1

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