The IEA's latest monograph, The ECB and the Euro: the first five years has a thorough analysis of the successes and difficulties of operating monetary policy in the euro zone over the last five years. The author, Professor Otmar Issing, is a member of the Executive Board of the ECB and played an important part in the development of the ECB's monetary strategy. Professor Issing concludes that the ECB has been successful in its aims. However, it cannot be expected that the ECB should be able to deal with the shortcomings and rigidities of the EU economies that are not, in fact, within the gift of the ECB to resolve. Slow growth and high unemployment are not the fault of the ECB.
A commentary by David B. Smith, Chief Economist at Williams de Broe and Chairman of the IEA's Shadow Monetary Policy Committee, agrees with much of Professor Issing's analysis. Smith does not believe that the good record of monetary management in the euro zone has implications for the decision of the UK as to whether it should join the euro. The political implications of the UK joining the Euro, argues Smith, would be such as to lead to the imposition of the tax and regulatory burdens currently suffered by the euro zone.