The Fifth Triffin Lecture was given by Marco Buti, Director General of Economic and Financial Affairs at the European Commission, on the “Reform of the International Monetary System and of the IMF: the G20 and International Macroeconomic Prospects". It was organized by the Robert Triffin International in collaboration with IRELAC and the Egmont Institute at the Egmont Palace in Brussels.
The fourth Lecture was given at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve on 11th May 2016 by José Antonio Ocampo, former Minister of Finance and Agriculture in Colombia and former Under-Secretary for Economic and Social Affairs at the United Nations, on the theme “Reforming the International Monetary System”.
The analysis by Mr Ocampo proposes a comprehensive yet evolutionary reform of the global monetary non-system that evolved out of the breakdown of the original Bretton Woods arrangement in the early 1970s. It includes: (i) a global reserve system that mixes the multi-currency arrangement with an active use of the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights; (ii) stronger mechanisms of macroeconomic policy co-operation, including management of the exchange rate system and capital account regulations; (iii) additional automatic balance-of-payments financing facilities, and the complementary use of swap and regional arrangements; (iv) a multi-lateral sovereign debt workout mechanism; and (v) major reforms of the system’s governance.
The Robert Triffin International joined the Shanghai Development Research Foundation, the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee (RBWC), the PBC School of Finance, Tsinghua University and the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance, SJTU in the organization on the 31st October/1st November 2015 of the seminar “Shift in Global Financial Governance” in Shanghai.
Bernard Snoy and Elena Flor, respectively President and Secretary General of the Robert Triffin International presented during the seminar the work of the RTI and in particular the report on the SDR.
The third Triffin Lecture was given at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve on 5th May 2015 by Michel Camdessus, former General Manager of the International Monetary Fund and Honorary Governor of the Banque de France on the theme « Treize ans à la tête du FMI ».
Michel Camdessus discussed how, at the head of the IMF from 1987 to 2000, he tried to reconcile financial orthodoxy and solidarity, to adapt the instruments and policies of the IMF to support the countries in difficulty, including the poorest, and in particular: to overcome their financial imbalances, to accompany the transition from ex-communist countries to the market economy and to promote comprehensive reforms to make the international monetary system and the governance of the world economy more equitable.
The Triffin International Foundation and the Agnelli Foundation organized a seminar on 26th November 2014 in Turin on “The International monetary System 70 years after Bretton Woods - The role of the SDR”. In particular a report entitled “Using the SDR as a lever to Reform the International Monetary System” was presented to the audience convened. The report was the result of the work of a group of experts that met a number of times in late 2013 and early 2014. The working group was chaired by André Icard with the incitement and participation of Michel Camdessus, and was convened by the Triffin International Foundation with the support of the Compagnia di San Paolo and of the Agnelli Foundation to exploit the possible future role of the SDR. Moving from the conclusions of the Palais Royal Initiative, the working group focused its attention on the SDR, further expanding the suggestions hereby included.
The result of this work was a report that started by reaffirming the existence of a “built-in-destabilizer” in the present IMS, based on the use of national currencies -mainly the US dollar- as reserve currencies, and by presenting the theoretical first-best solution, which unfortunately was likely to remain out of reach for long. Nevertheless, the need to break free from the status quo led to re-explore the potential role of the SDR for strengthening monetary and financial stability, in a globalized and multi-polar world. Then, based on analytic elements, the report made nine suggestions aimed at overcoming the present deficiencies in the functioning of the IMS through an enhancement of official SDRs and the development of a private SDRs market.
The second Triffin Lecture was given at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve on 7th May 2014 by Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank between June 2005 and November 2011. He focused his Lecture on « Lâcher l’euro pour sauver l’Europe : un leurre ».
In October 2011 a conference organized by the Triffin International Foundation on the “International Monetary System: sustainability and reform proposals” took place in Brussels to mark the 100th anniversary of Robert Triffin (1911-1993). The conference gathered many distinguished participants and valuable contributions on the well-known Triffin dilemma and its actual significance.
The conference envisaged both a review of Robert Triffin’s life and work and their actualization, with specific references to origins and causes of the current crisis and hints to possible solutions. It showed that the Triffin dilemma, even if the economic and financial background is changed, “has remain unsolved and lies at the root of many contemporary problems”. The thirty contributions presented at the conference were then collected in a book In search of a New World Monetary Order, edited by Jean-Claude Koeune and Alexandre Lamfalussy (respectively Secretary General and President – till May 2013 – of the Triffin International Foundation).
The Triffin International Foundation was entrusted the coordination of “The Palais Royal Initiative”, a group of 18 experts from 13 countries (former Ministers, Central bank Governors, former officials in national or international institutions) convened by Michel Camdessus, Alexandre Lamfalussy and Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa. After a number of meetings in the fall of 2010 and beginning of 2011 a report entitled “Reform of the international monetary system: a cooperative approach for the twenty first century” was issued in February 2011 and an abridged version was presented to the French Presidency of the G20 in January 2011, prior to the ministerial meeting of the G20 Ministers of Finance in February 2011. The avenues of reform presented in the report focus on the one hand on the strengthening of the IMF and of its governance and on the other hand on the need to re-explore the potential role of the SDRs in serving the public common good of monetary and financial stability in the context of today’s globalized and increasingly multi-polar world.
The report underlined that the “scope for the SDR to play a greater role in the international monetary system should be examined”, both as a reserve asset and as an international unit of account. In particular, the “composition of the SDR basket should reflect the relative importance of economies in international trade and financial transactions”, a point which makes reference to the debate on the enlargement of the composition of the SDR basket to the emerging countries’ currencies.
The first step of the Initiative was, on 14th May 2010, an international Colloquium ‘Initiative Triffin 21: towards a world reserve currency’, organised by the Triffin International Foundation in co-operation with the Compagnia di San Paolo and chaired by Alexander Lamfalussy and Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, took place in Turin and gathered politicians, central bankers and economists from all over the world, all united by the will of developing a multilateral approach to international economic and monetary issues.
The colloquium focused on two areas which constitute the necessary premise of any reform proposal: on the one side, the analysis of the un-sustainability of the present monetary arrangements as a systemic root of the current crisis, and, on the other side, the identification of the requirements of a stable international monetary system.
The first step of the Initiative was a lecture given by Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa on “The ghost of Bancor: the economic crisis and global monetary disorder” at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve on 25th February 2010.
The text, which addressed the monetary aspect of the economic crisis, constituted the basis of an updating of the Triffin’s thoughts and theories: “Triffin’s criticism of an international monetary system based on an exclusively national monetary policy is still valid, although today it demands a broader formulation, capable of taking into account the exchange rate anarchy and a multiplicity of influential monetary policies.”
The Initiative Triffin 21 was launched by the Triffin International Foundation, chaired by Alexander Lamfalussy, with the aim to contribute to the debate on the reform of the international monetary system, on the one side, analyzing the un-sustainability of the present monetary arrangements as a systemic root of the current crisis, and, on the other side, identifying the requirements of a stable international monetary system.