Britain and European Monetary Cooperation, 1964–1979 by Kiyoshi Hirowatari

By Kiyoshi Hirowatari

This booklet presents a distinct viewpoint at the decline of sterling and Britain's responsive monetary policy-making within the 1960's and '70s.

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Britain and European Monetary Cooperation, 1964–1979

This publication offers a different viewpoint at the decline of sterling and Britain's responsive monetary policy-making within the 1960's and '70s.

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The core difference lay in the way monetary union should be achieved. 59 The Werner plan finally resolved this conflict with a compromise: parallel progress in both fields of policy coordination and narrower margins. 62 In no foreseeable circumstances did it aim to compete with the dollar as the key currency. More precisely, the plan lacked the drive to turn an envisaged single currency into a key currency. 63 There is no getting away from the fact that the Werner plan lacked audacity. There was, however, a crucial point in the plan worthy of attention: the idea of supranationality.

First, it aims to widen the focus to take account of the 1970s, leading up to the denouement which arrived ‘rather unexpectedly’ – the 1976 IMF crisis. While clearly setting a European approach against an international approach to sterling, this perspective highlights the process of two sentiments – the loss of monetary sovereignty and the decline of sterling–dollar diplomacy – overwhelming British policy-makers. The second aim is to deepen the focus by casting light on the repercussions of a European approach to sterling for British policymakers, especially in the sphere of external economic policy-making.

Britain was cursed with the thread of policy it had woven. This required an overhaul of postwar assumptions, thus creating the pivotal moment for some policy-makers, including Wilson, who had muddied an intractable issue: the Common Market. Newton does not go further and argue that the sterling crisis provided the backdrop and stimulus to Wilson’s addressing EEC membership. This, however, needs to be further explored. This book is an attempt to fill a gap in the historiography on Britain and European monetary cooperation in two respects.

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