IREF - Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues
Fiscal competition and economic freedom
The European Resource Bank took place in Brussels (Sept 8-10) giving the opportunity to signal both the free-market movement’s steady growth and persistent opposition to EU encroachment on individual rights and liberties.
A great event! This was the unanimous sentiment as the European Resource Bank concluded on Monday 10 September with a banquet, toasting the memory of Johnny Munkhammar and hearing a keynote speech on free trade and free markets in times of crisis, delivered by Alain Madelin, former Minister of Finance (France).
This was an exceptional opportunity to restate the principles of a free society, a sound economy and currency reform, to oppose EU initiatives to bolster government growth and statist management of the debt crisis.
Hosted by New Direction (Foundation for European Reform) and sponsored by a number of free market institutes including IREF and the IES, the ERB broached both current topics (global taxation, civil liberties and international financial regulation) and more practical issues for think tanks to become more effective in their communications.
Among many prominent speakers was Professor Leszek Balcerowicz, former Minister of Finance during Poland’s transition to democracy and a free-market economy. CEI’s Iain Murray provided an insightful warning on the growing regulatory imperialism in international finance, and Dan Mitchell (CATO Institute) gave a blistering overview of the development of public debt worldwide.
An intensive debate ensued on the merits of competing currencies, with an exceptional contribution from Ruta Vainiené (Lithuanian Free Market Institute, IREF Fellow and a former board member of Lithuania’s central bank). The LFMI has produced a paper on the possible options of euro opt-out and how parallel currencies and monetary competition may be implemented. The document provides a useful contribution, based on the experience of how the Baltic countries exited the "ruble zone", to imagine various scenarios for an "orderly" dismantling of the eurozone.