Benoît Cœuré: The euro's global role in a changing world - a monetary policy perspective

Speech by Mr Benoît Cœuré, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York City, 15 February 2019.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
21 February 2019

Speech including graphs can be found at the ECB's website.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the euro's creation, an event which has triggered much reflection on the single currency's successes and challenges.

Most of this commentary has, rightly, focused on the economic track record of the euro area. The main aim of monetary union was, after all, to maximise the benefits of the EU's internal market and thereby shift Europe onto a higher growth trajectory.

I will not discuss these benefits today. Instead I will merely say that, since day one, many commenters, including here in the United States, have predicted the imminent demise of the euro. However, the truth is that, today, three out of four people in the euro area support the euro - the broadest support since its creation. One should never underestimate the resilience and strength of Europe's monetary union project.

Today I would like to focus on a different aspect, however: the external dimension of the euro - that is, its international role. For some Europeans, external factors have always formed part of the case for the single currency. A currency with a global standing would not just be a symbol of European unity on the world stage, it would also be a tool to project global influence.

Following this line of thought, it is no coincidence that the final push towards monetary union took place against the backdrop of the confrontational foreign economic policies of the 1980s.