European Economic and Monetary Union: Global Finance, States and Strategic Concepts of Monetary Sovereignty

Author: Takis Damaskopoulos
Series: Study
Publication Date: September 2004
Category: Premium Membership

The interpretation of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) remains the subject of considerable academic and political debate. Indeed, few aspects of the transformation of the postwar world order elicit greater diversity of interpretation than the process of EMU. Interpretations have been as varied as the academic specialties and political vantage points they reflect; interpretations that are as contradictory as they are mutually exclusive. EMU is seen as the expression of Anglo-American neoliberalism leading to the regional consolidation of the power of global finance while, at the same time, it is being decried as a covert attempt to construct a Euro-socialist state under the guise of a “European model of society”. It is seen as a project of constructing German hegemony on a continental European basis while, simultaneously, it is considered as an example of the strategic brilliance of the French political elite who seek to safeguard the interests of the French state within a European monetary constitutional structure.

This study examines the process of EMU by concentrating on the interaction and parallel transformation of the political economy of the Anglo-American dollar-based system of global finance and the Franco-German binational compact that has been at the center of the process of European integration by concentrating on these respective states. This is not to suggest that smaller states of the Community somehow do not matter. In fact, the tactical alignments of the larger member-states with smaller states in key phases of EMU have been of crucial importance in the political bargains that have animated the process of EMU. The emphasis on the interaction between Anglo-American and Franco-German political economies, instead, is intended to identify the strategic concepts of monetary sovereignty that have historically been linked to the strategies of the dominant states and the types and hierarchies of discipline embedded in them for the rest of the Community.