« Not a Savings Glut, an Investment Deficiency | Main | Sweden Cuts Interest Rates »

June 22, 2005

The European Central Bank Shows Signs of Facing Reality

Edward Hugh sees a first chink of light:

A Fistful of Euros: The First Chink of Light: There is a very interesting article in todays Financial Times. For the first time an executive board member of the ECB - Lucas Papademos - has spoken openly about the difficulties presented by having a single monetary policy for such a diverse set of economies. In fact these comments take on more significance in the light of the fact that Papademos is vice President of the ECB, and widely tipped to replace Otmar Issing as Chief Economist when Issing retires.

In a speech at an ECB conference in Frankfurt, Mr Papademos argued that economic growth and inflation differentials within the eurozone since the introduction of the euro had been similar to regional variation in the US.But Mr Papademos observed "significant and persistent divergences in measures of competitiveness between member countries". The extent and cumulative effects of such differences "raise concerns about their impact on growth...suggest the adjustment mechanisms are functioning slowly". Eurozone divergences were... "the result of structural factors."...

The entire speech can be found here. It is clear that the emphasis is on the need to force through the structural reforms, nevertheless the admissions are significant.

Posted by DeLong at June 22, 2005 03:40 PM