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The process of European monetary integration : a comparison of the Belgian and Italian approaches


  • Ivo Maes

    () (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

  • Lucia Quaglia

    () (European University Institute)


This paper analyses and compares the roles which Belgium and Italy have played in the process of European monetary integration. It discusses Belgian and Italian attitudes towards European integration and EMU, exchange rate policies, key concepts of the Belgian and Italian EMU strategies and the concrete contributions made by Belgium and Italy. Overall, these two countries played an important and pace-setting role in the process of European monetary integration. They developed several creative and diplomatic proposals. Moreover, Belgian and Italian policy-makers often acted as "policy entrepreneurs" and proved to be skilful negotiators. The main difference is that Belgium has been a constant and consistent "pace-setter" in monetary matters, from the preparation of the Hague Summit to the elaboration of the EMS, the monetary chapter in the Single European Act and the realisation of EMU, whereas Italy was mainly active in the 1980s. This assessment of the Belgian and Italian contributions does not challenge the decisive impact of the Franco-German axis, but illustrates that EMU was a multilateral process. Furthermore, the paper shows how important it was for a country to achieve a sound economic performance, especially a stable exchange rate, in order to have influence on the European monetary scene.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivo Maes & Lucia Quaglia, 2003. "The process of European monetary integration : a comparison of the Belgian and Italian approaches," Working Paper Research 40, National Bank of Belgium.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbb:reswpp:200308-1

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    Cited by:

    1. Ivo Maes, 2009. "The young Lamfalussy : an empirical and policy-oriented growth theorist," Working Paper Research 163, National Bank of Belgium.
    2. Geert Langenus, 2006. "Fiscal sustainability indicators and policy design in the face of ageing," Working Paper Research 102, National Bank of Belgium.
    3. Ivo Maes, 2007. "The spread of Keynesian economics : a comparison of the Belgian and Italian experiences," Working Paper Research 113, National Bank of Belgium.

    More about this item


    European monetary integration; Belgium; Italy;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism


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