The Politics of the Euro-Zone: Stability or Breakdown?

By Kenneth Dyson | Go to book overview

2 How the Euro-Zone Operates: A 'Two-Level' Game, a Child of the Franco-German 'Couple', or a New 'Motor' For Europe?

The previous chapter sought to understand how the Euro-Zone operates by reference to its institutional character and structural context, identifying some of the problems that will be addressed in detail later, notably problems of asymmetry in institutional and policy design and of legitimacy. This emphasis contrasts with the focus on the role of personalities in media coverage of the birth of the Euro-Zone in 1998-9. Paramount attention was given to the issue of who would be the president of the new ECB: Wim Duisenberg, the Dutch central bank governor, proposed by the European Monetary Institute (EMI) and favoured strongly by the German Bundesbank; or Jean-Claude Trichet, the French central bank governor who was the candidate of his own French government? This issue was, in part, one of principle. Who was providing leadership in the new Euro-Zone: the EU central bankers—grouped in the EMI—or the heads of state and government? But it also reflected a perception that the president of the ECB was a powerful figure. Just how powerful seemed clear on 31 December 1998 when Duisenberg made it clear that he did not recognize, or intend to abide by, any deal worked out between the EU heads of state and government in May 1998 to the effect that, halfway through his eight-year term, he would make way for Trichet.

Similarly, the German Finance Minister Oskar Lafontaine, associated with the more traditional wing of the Social Democratic Party, was singled out as a powerful and, in sections of the British press, as a dangerous figure. He stood for a determination to give a new

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The Politics of the Euro-Zone: Stability or Breakdown?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Politics of the Euro-Zone iii
  • Preface and Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures x
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: How the Euro-Zone Operates 11
  • 2: How the Euro-Zone Operates 65
  • 3: How the Euro-Zone Operates 93
  • 4: How the Euro-Zone Operates 125
  • 5: The Problem of Stability in the Euro-Zone 145
  • 6: The Prospects for a Stable Euro-Zone 169
  • 7: The Legitimacy of the Euro-Zone 211
  • 8: Policies for a Stable Euro-Zone 251
  • References 285
  • Index 307
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