The paper traces the developments from the formation of the European Economic and Monetary Union to this date. It discusses the fact that the primary mandate of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) is confined to safeguarding price stability and does not include general economic policy. Finally, the paper contributes to the discussion on whether the primary law of the European Union would support a eurozone exit. The Treaty of Maastricht imposed the strict obligation on the European Union (EU) to establish an economic and monetary union, now Article 3(4) TEU. This economic and monetary union is, however, not designed as a separate entity but as an integral part of the EU. The single currency was to become the currency of the EU and to be the legal tender in all Member States unless an exemption was explicitly granted in the primary law of the EU, as in the case of the UK and Denmark. The newly admitted Member States are obliged to introduce the euro as their currency as soon as they fulfil the admission criteria. Technically, this has been achieved by transferring the exclusive competence for the monetary policy of the Member States whose currency is the euro on the EU, Article 3(1)(c) TFEU and by bestowing the euro with the quality of legal tender, the only legal tender in the EU, Article 128(1) sentence 3 TFEU.
White Paper No. 26