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May/June 1994, 
Vol. 76, No. 3
Posted 1994-05-01

On the Way to a New Monetary Union: The European Monetary Union (The Eighth Annual Homer Jones Memorial Lecture)

by Helmut Schlesinger

In the past two centuries, only a handful of monetary unions have been created successfully. Now, Europe has embarked on the creation of one of the most ambitious to date: the European Monetary Union, which will encompass nearly 400 million people and have the highest gross domestic product in the world. In the Eighth Annual Homer Jones Memorial Lecture, Helmut Schlesinger, former president of the Deutsche Bundesbank, briefly traces the econom┬Čic and political history of the European Community, from its beginning in 1957 with six members to its likely expansion to 16 members in 1995. He also reflects on the current situation in light of the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, which established the framework for the monetary union. Although the actual date of the European Monetary Union is in question, Schlesinger concludes that its birth is imminent and that one of the most critical elements in determining its success will be the establishment of a single currency that is as stable as the best-performing national currencies within Europe.