A European Monetary Fund?

03-05-2017

The creation of a European Monetary Fund seems a natural next step to improve upon the European Stability Mechanism. This paper argues that such a step is neither necessary nor desirable, for many reasons. First, the European Stability Mechanism is a fundamental contradiction with the no-bailout rule, which is arguably the most crucial instrument to foster fiscal discipline in the Eurozone. Second, any insurance mechanism creates moral hazard. A European Monetary Fund would be deeply immersed in conflicts of interest among its members. Third, it would have to fit in alongside the Commission and the Eurosystem, already in charge of monitoring the Eurozone countries, preventing crises, lending in last resort and developing debt-restructuring principles. Fourth, it would need a highly competent staff to deal with crises but idle in quiet times. Fifth, its governance should guarantee fast action when needed, with proper accountability and undue politicisation. These are serious hurdles and the IMF can perform the task.

The creation of a European Monetary Fund seems a natural next step to improve upon the European Stability Mechanism. This paper argues that such a step is neither necessary nor desirable, for many reasons. First, the European Stability Mechanism is a fundamental contradiction with the no-bailout rule, which is arguably the most crucial instrument to foster fiscal discipline in the Eurozone. Second, any insurance mechanism creates moral hazard. A European Monetary Fund would be deeply immersed in conflicts of interest among its members. Third, it would have to fit in alongside the Commission and the Eurosystem, already in charge of monitoring the Eurozone countries, preventing crises, lending in last resort and developing debt-restructuring principles. Fourth, it would need a highly competent staff to deal with crises but idle in quiet times. Fifth, its governance should guarantee fast action when needed, with proper accountability and undue politicisation. These are serious hurdles and the IMF can perform the task.