The European Monetary System (EMS) is only the latest, but surely not the last, attempt to create the basis for a regional currency bloc in Western Europe. In 1957, when the Treaty of Rome was signed, such a thing was virtually unthinkable. The six original members of the Community were still plagued by the idea of the dollar gap. External convertibility of national currencies was officially introduced as late as 1961. The Bretton Woods system was based on a gold-exchange standard, with the United States dollar playing the role of international reserve currency. Thus, at the time, the creation of an independent monetary system within the context of the EEC could be considered as a dangerous luxury!
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