The European Monetary Institute (1994-98)

In 1992, the Treaty on European Union, better known as the Maastricht Treaty , laid out a road map to a common currency and central bank for the European Union. As part of this, the European Monetary Institute (EMI) was established in January 1994 and was an intermediate, but crucial step towards establishing the ECB. Unlike the Committee of Governors before, the EMI got its own legal personality and quickly grew as an organisation and in terms of staff numbers. The EMI had two Presidents: first Alexandre Lamfalussy and then Willem Frederik Duisenberg from July 1997. Duisenberg also became the first President of the ECB in 1998. The President of the EMI chaired the Council, which also included the Vice-President and the Governors of the EU central banks.

Over the next four and a half years, the EMI quickly established its organisational structure. Major work was done in parallel by sub-committees, working groups and underlying task forces of the central banks and the EMI; a cooperative structure that was established during the period of the Committee of Governors.

The EMI’s main focus was on establishing the European System of Central Banks, including the ECB and the new currency. It also dealt with some operational tasks, such as replacing the European Monetary Cooperation Fund, which had come before. The EMI aimed to:

  • better coordinate monetary policy in the EU
  • enforce financial stability
  • improve (cross-border) payment systems in the EU
  • develop a regulatory, organisational and logistical framework
  • develop a common monetary policy strategy for the euro
  • prepare a single money market.

The EMI records cover preparatory and operational activities between 1994 and 1998, such as meetings of working groups, administrative and organisational tasks and documents on the key responsibilities relating to harmonising payment systems, statistical methods, monetary policies, designing and issuing the euro banknote and other related issues.

The relevant archival inventory is currently under preparation.

Records already released to the public are available in the relevant section of the Public Register of Documents