This page sets out the major issues relating to European integration from a historical and educational perspective.
The history of European integration lists the key dates over the past 50 years and emphasises the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, which laid the foundations of economic and monetary union.
Monetary union required the setting up of a specific institutional framework: the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). This section describes the role of the ESCB's decision-making bodies and that of the committees that assist them in carrying out their tasks; it also presents all of the resources, in particular financial, at the disposal of the European Central Bank (ECB).
Monetary union was carefully prepared. A number of coordination mechanisms were set up. These codify the principles for joining monetary union and institutional coordination through various bodies and tools geared towards multilateral surveillance of budgetary policies.
The relationship between the euro and the currencies of EU countries not participating in monetary union has been governed by the new exchange rate mechanism (ERM II) since 1 January 1999.
This section also recalls the legal framework for the euro by briefly presenting the two underlying Community regulations and setting out the various aspects of this new "monetary law".
France's participation in EMU took the form of a number of specific initiatives, coined "changeover to the euro", for which the key stages and mechanisms are explained in a series of fact sheets.
The creation of monetary union resulted in the adoption of a single monetary policy. This section outlines the fundamental aspects of the Eurosystem's monetary policy strategy, i.e. the quantitative definition of price stability and the construction of a specific analytical framework. The Banque de France actively contributes to the preparation and implementation of monetary policy.
Finally, this section also features a number of useful links:
- the conclusions of the European Council (which brings together the heads of state or government of the EU and is in charge of defining the general political guidelines of the EU) and the conclusions of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (which is composed of the economics and finance ministers of the EU Member States); certain conclusions prior to 2003 are examined from a historical perspective.
- the websites of EU national central banks;
- a number of key pages from the website of the European Central Bank (ECB), in particular ECB press releases and decisions, the ECB's Monthly Bulletin, other publications and job opportunities.