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Germany’s Costly Fiscal Fetish

April 19, 2016

Project Syndicate
Hans-Helmut Kotz, Visiting Professor of Economics, Harvard University, CES Resident Faculty April 19, 2016

FRANKFURT – The European Central Bank is under heavy attack in Germany, a country that has long prided itself on defending the principle of central-bank independence. Indeed, it was Germany that pushed for this principle’s inclusion among the criteria set out in the Maastricht Treaty, which established the conditions for membership in Europe’s monetary union.

For many EMU members, making their central banks independent in order to join the euro meant a change in political regime. For example, in France’s 1992 referendum to ratify the Maastricht Treaty, the prospective autonomy of the French central bank was one of the strongest points in the campaign against adopting the euro.