EUROPE'S BEST CENTRAL BANKER (int'l edition)
''Is the euro's point man fighting the wrong war?'' (European Business, Nov. 9) didn't do justice to the Netherlands' Wim Duisenberg. Criticism of Duisenberg's monetary policy by Finance Minister Oskar Lafontaine has already been squashed by Germany's Prime Minister, Gerhard Schroder. However, Duisenberg would have ignored Lafontaine anyway, just as he ignored pleas for soft measures from Dutch finance ministers when he was Governor of the Central Bank in the Netherlands back in the 1980s. This is why the central banks have to be independent of finance ministries and from the whims of the political party in power. Britain, as a late convert, has only just embraced this idea.
Duisenberg is renowned for his firm stance here, and the strength of the guilder today is almost entirely attributable to his monetary policies and convictions. The most effective central bank governor in Europe is Duisenberg: He was made head of the European Central Bank for good reason. Let's allow him to get on with his work.
Updated Nov. 19, 1998 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1998, Bloomberg L.P.