Sándor Lámfalussy – The Wise Man of the Euro
As a result of the tender entitled "Support for the accredited specialist colleges in higher education" (NTP-SZKOLL-13) the NATIONAL TALENT PROGRAMME of the Mathias Corvinus Collegium published a book of interviews on the life of its sponsor, Sándor Lámfalussy.
In 1949 a young Hungarian immigrant, Sándor Lámfalussy, arrived in Belgium, with just a suitcase in his hand and a few dollars in his pocket. A little less than fifty years later he was the one who presented the first drawings of the euro banknote, the second most significant international currency, to the printing house. As the founding father of euro Sándor Lámfalussy was undoubtedly one of the most prominent figures of the international financial life of our days. He earned a doctorate in economics from Nuffield College at Oxford and taught at the Catholic University of Louvain and at the American Yale University. He participated in the work of the Delors Commission that laid the foundations for the European Economic and Monetary Union and between 1994 and 1997 he became the first president of the European Monetary Institute. He played a dominant role in the foundation of the European Central Bank. In 2000 the European Council requested him in his capacity as the chairman of the "Committee of Wise Men" that he should make proposals for making the decision mechanism related to the European regulation simpler and more efficient. The proposals of the committee were accepted in 2003, which contributed to setting things right in, the until then, chaotic regulatory environment.
But where is Lámfalussy, the man? Who is he in reality? We get a worthy answer to these questions from the recollection published in this book in the form of dialogues. Sándor Lámfalussy told about his life in his home between 2010 and 2012 to the authors: Christophe Lamfalussy, Ivo Maesn and Sabine Péters.
ROUND-TABLE DISCUSSION ON EURO IN THE MAGYAR NEMZETI BANK
The book entitled "Sándor Lámfalussy –The Wise Man of the Euro" was presented jointly by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium and the MNB, the key thoughts of which were discussed by the invitees at a round-table discussion.
The Mathias Corvinus Collegium can boast with yet a new exclusive book, the launch of which was also attended by some prominent experts. János Martonyi, former foreign minister, László Madarász, former member of the MNB's Supervisory Board, Ádám Balog, Deputy Governor of the MNB and John Stevens, former Deputy Chairman of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Council discussed the European integration, the opportunities hidden in the euro area and the introduction of the euro in Hungary.
Only a few people know in Hungary that Sándor Lámfalussy participated in the elaboration of the European Monetary Union's implementation plan, and as the chairman of the European Monetary Institute he was in charge of preparing the introduction of the euro; thus it is particularly appreciated that the book of interviews with the "father of euro" was also translated into Hungarian after it was published in French, Scottish and English. On the occasion of the publication of the book it was just the right time to talk about the euro and the European Union, as well as on the euro and Hungary.
All those round the table agreed that the euro is one of the greatest "success" of the European Union, besides of its role of guaranteeing peace and creating the opportunity for a common market. The single currency survived the challenges caused by the crisis and it still plays an important role in the global economy. János Martonyi, former foreign minister, stated that due to the institutional reforms the euro in its current form is completely different than it used to be before the crisis; as such the rules applicable to the member states that upon the accession committed to the mandatory introduction of the euro are questionable.
The issue of introducing euro in Hungary also came up, in respect of which the former foreign minister said that the competitiveness of the Hungarian economy was unquestionable, thus our economy already complied with the equilibrium conditions and would be able to access the euro area. However, none of them have set a target date, but they all agreed that Hungary may soon become the member of the euro area.
"Alexandre Lamfalussy expressed himself with lucidity and often adopted controversial positions. In the light of subsequent events, we are compelled to acknowledge that his assessments were generally correct and far-sighted."
Jacques de Larosiére
As the Founding President of the European Monetary Institute, the predecessor of the European Central Bank, Alexandre Lamfalussy (1929-2015) was one of the fathers of the euro. Moreover, as a central banker and, before that, as a commercial banker, he lived through several financial crises. As an academic economist, he always tried to put policy problems in a broader analytical framework, often turning into a Cassandra. This book offers a selection of his essays, from his first article in 1953 to his last essay in 2014.