Ignazio Visco: The Economic and Monetary Union - time to break the deadlock

Keynote address by Mr Ignazio Visco, Governor of the Bank of Italy, at the OMFIF-Bank of Italy seminar "The future of the Euro area", Rome, 15 November 2019.

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

Central bank speech  | 
15 November 2019

This seminar comes at a difficult juncture for Europe. The tide of the global financial crisis and the sovereign debt crisis has long fallen, but its poisonous legacy and geopolitical tensions are fuelling distrust, fears and even prejudices once thought long buried. The European construction is at a standstill while progress is badly needed in the key areas, where the Union is better at prohibiting things than at getting them done.

Although the single currency was a vital step on the path to European integration, the Economic and Monetary Union remains an unfinished construction. Europe's architects knew this, and wanted and anticipated greater progress in the future. Even before the introduction of the euro, the unusual status of a Stateless currency had been underlined, as had the institutional solitude of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the problems posed by the imperfect mobility of capital and labour.

The risks inherent in this situation materialised with unanticipated violence during the sovereign debt crisis.