Euro forefather Tietmeyer dies aged 85

He ran Bundesbank from 1993 to 1999, a period that saw the launch of the single currency

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Former Bundesbank president Hans Tietmeyer, a key architect of the euro who oversaw its introduction in Germany, has died at the age of 85, the central bank announced Wednesday.

Tietmeyer ran the mighty Bundesbank from 1993 to 1999, a period that straddled the aftermath of German reunification as well as the launch of the single European currency and the creation of the European Central Bank.

“Hans Tietmeyer was an outstanding president, who always acted with the goal of monetary stability in mind,” current Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family.”

Tietmeyer died on Tuesday, the statement added, without giving further details.

A fierce defender of the independence of central banks, Tietmeyer was credited with ensuring that the same principle was enshrined in the statutes of the ECB, which was modeled in large part on the Bundesbank and is likewise based in Frankfurt.

Before joining the Bundesbank, Tietmeyer was a junior finance minister and served as an advisor to former chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Seen as one of the architects of the European monetary union, the influential Tietmeyer was known for speaking his mind and cautioned early on of the pitfalls of the single currency.

He notably warned that some member states had to show greater budgetary discipline if trouble was to be avoided down the road - comments that would prove prescient during the eurozone debt crisis.

But Tietmeyer later also credited the euro with shielding member states from foreign exchange turmoil at the height of the global financial crisis.

“We would probably have had a series of currency crises” that could have hammered some countries had they kept their national monies, Tietmeyer told AFP in late 2008.

“As a result, the single currency has without doubt benefited the people and the economy of Europe,” he said.

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