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The Euro Area: Creating a Stronger Economic Ecosystem

Author(s): Christine Lagarde

Date published: Apr 2019

SUERF Policy Note, Issue No 63
by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

Keynote address by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, at the 34th SUERF Colloquium & Banque de France Symposium on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the euro, in Paris, on 28-29 March 2019.



Introduction

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the euro—and as we think about the next 20 years—it is fitting that we should honor the courage, creativity, and perseverance of those who inspired this unique European project.

That spirit reminds me of a story that was once told by a great friend of Europe—President John F. Kennedy. Addressing students at UC Berkeley in 1962, he said the following:

“The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, ‘In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!” 1

Twenty years ago, European countries did not just plant one tree, they planted an entire forest—creating a new economic ecosystem known as the euro area. The fundamental strength of that system lies in its interconnectedness and diversity—a combination that can help Europe to fully unlock its immense economic potential.

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