1. EMU in 100 words ?
At a time when European monetary unification is under threat, EMU aims to further our understanding of the changes brought about by monetary unions in the light of historical experience. It will improve our comprehension of how large economic and monetary zones have worked in the past, and by cooperating with institutions including national banks and the European Central Bank contribute to a better understanding of the current Eurozone and its problems. EMU will provide new insights for sociologists, historians and economists.
Coinages are potent symbols in many ways. EMU will examine the dynamics of the rise and fall of unions; the reactions of populations to monetary change and the introduction of new symbolism on coins; consider local exchange systems, their acceptance and their relationship with national or dominant systems.
2. EMU : Why ?
Many people believe that the Euro is the first monetary union. That is not the case. Europe has experienced alternating periods of monetary union and fragmentation.
There have been many national studies of currency. However, national research has become trapped in a space which has ceased to be relevant, and the absence of a European perspective is a serious obstacle. Thus EMU must involve comparisons between multiple areas and multilateral debates.
Given the advanced state of research on monetary history and the level of existing knowledge, the priority is not new research. Rather the EMU will organise meetings that will bring together the existing, wide community of scholars from different countries and of different periods, to reflect on common themes. It will produce a network of European centres of excellence in the field which in the past have worked well, but too often in separate compartments.
3. EMU : what for ?
The Action will provide a historical framework for understanding the management of the Euro currency. It intends to produce the basic data needed for a better comprehension of current changes in the monetary economy, and to further our understanding of the historical background. This will allow us to re-think the future of European relations with a unified currency, faced as we are today with problems with which historians have learned to deal: inflation and crises of confidence in the currency, the distortion of competition by the market or by the political authorities, etc.
The historical framework will also significantly further an understanding among a wider, more general audience of the important role that monetary unions have played in European history through the centuries, and their contribution to cultural, ideological and political unity. Thus the Action can be instrumental in counteracting tendencies towards nationalist economic and political separatism.
4. EMU for who ?
The Action will bring together existing European expertise in a pan-European network to initiate open discussion and confrontation of ideas, and to disseminate the results. It will implement concerted action, coordinating current and future research already being carried out by participating countries.
A Management Committee and a Core Group will be established to coordinate and oversee all activities, which will be based on the operation of four Working Groups addressing the pillars outlined above. The key elements will be conferences, training schools and dissemination.
Widespread international publicity will be given to the results, and diffusion will be targeted as appropriate. Dissemination for the general public will be through the publication of popular works, exhibitions and presentations in the form of visual media. In addition the conferences will be open to a wider public; the reports of the WGs will be widely communicated, documents will be published on-line and there will be co-operation with existing networks, and with the European Central Bank and national banks and mints.
In particular the Action will prioritise the targeting of students and early-term researchers to contribute to the creation of a new international high-level team, using STSM or scholar- or student-exchanges.
So everyone, student or teacher, amateur or scholar, will find information to help interpret current events. This is also the role of the humanities.
5. EMU : how ?
The structure of the Action is based on a series of meetings addressing 3 complementary pillars which have been identified as central to the overall programme.
Workgroup [›1] Implementing monetary unions.
Workgroup [›2] Social implications, acceptance and rejection.
Workgroup [›3] Rise and fall of monetary unions.
Meetings of participating researchers will consist of: annual general conferences and annual conferences of the individual WGs, as well as working meetings of the WGs. A website covering coordination, communication and dissemination will operate throughout the Action.
We do not speak the same language, but we are asking and all hoping for a COST network to be set up so that we can work together. Europe works with experts from all countries. Therefore let us pool our skills to form a reservoir of ideas, analyses and criticism.
6. EMU : When ? We hope to meet you at the inaugural meeting of our work programme. It will take place in Frankfurt, where the European Central Bank has its seat.