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A Europe Made of Money: the emergence of the European monetary system

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Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol
Cornell University Press (July 2012)

A Europe Made of Money is a new history of the making of the European Monetary System (EMS), based on extensive archive research. Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol highlights two long-term processes in the monetary and economic negotiations in the decade leading up to the founding of the EMS in 1979. The first is a transnational learning process involving a powerful, networked European monetary elite that shaped a habit of cooperation among technocrats. The second stresses the importance of the European Council, which held regular meetings between heads of government beginning in 1974, giving EEC legitimacy to monetary initiatives that had previously involved semisecret and bilateral negotiations. The interaction of these two features changed the EMS from a fairly trivial piece of administrative business to a tremendously important political agreement.

The inception of the EMS was greeted as one of the landmark achievements of regional cooperation, a major leap forward in the creation of a unified Europe. Yet Mourlon-Druol's account stresses that the EMS is much more than a success story of financial cooperation. The technical suggestions made by its architects reveal how state elites conceptualized the larger project of integration. And their monetary policy became a marker for the conception of European identity. The unveiling of the EMS, Mourlon-Druol concludes, represented the convergence of material interests and symbolic, identity-based concerns.

  • Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol is an associate in the Transatlantic Programme of the IDEAS Centre, LSE.

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Reviews

'In A Europe Made of Money, Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol explains the origins of European monetary cooperation and the challenges to the wider processes of European integration posed by the global economic transformation of the 1970s. This book is contemporary international history at its very best and provides necessary background for understanding today's travails in the Eurozone.'
Professor O. A. Westad, LSE

'Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol has written an exemplary work of historical research: elegant, clear, empirically strong, and theoretically challenging, both to historians and political scientists. Essential reading for all specialists of European integration and highly recommended to anyone wishing to fully understand the current Euro-crisis.'
Youssef Cassis, European University Institute

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A Europe Made of Money