Fabio Panetta: Beyond money - the euro's role in Europe's strategic future

Address by Mr Fabio Panetta, Governor of the Bank of Italy, at the conference "Ten years with the euro", Riga, 26 January 2024.

Central bank speech  | 
30 January 2024

I am delighted to be here today: it is a great pleasure to talk about the euro on the 10th anniversary of Latvia's adoption of the single currency. Actually, there are other good reasons to celebrate. The euro itself was launched 25 years ago, in January 1999, and at the end of that year Latvia was invited to start negotiations to join the European Union (EU).

These events are all part of a single, coherent historical process, driven by the integration project that Europe undertook in the post-war period. The Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is one of the most ambitious elements of this project, and the euro is both a key achievement and a powerful symbol of success.

Given my role and background, you might expect me to talk about the euro from a purely monetary perspective. However, I will not do that today. Finance is a means to serve society, and the euro is no exception: the single currency has objectives and implications that go far beyond the monetary sphere. Its fate shapes Europe's role in the global economic and financial landscape. Its function as an international reserve currency affects Europe's strategic autonomy and geopolitical position. From the perspective of 2024, the relevance of these issues can hardly be overstated.

My remarks today are structured around three broad themes. First, why we care about the international role of the euro (IRE), second, how this role has evolved over time, and third, what we can do to strengthen it.