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Outlawing the Chancellor

February 19th, 1995

A letter to the Editor of the Sunday Telegraph which was published on 19th February 1995.

Before Sir Patrick Sheehy (Business, February 12th) writes another article advocating abolition of the pound, he should read the Maastricht Treaty, particularly Protocol 3, which defines the powers and constitution of the future European Central Bank.  He will see that, far from Britain having “more control of interest rates in Europe than we do now”, we shall have no influence whatsoever.

Article 7 of Protocol 3 says that “when exercising the powers and carrying out the tasks conferred upon them by this treaty and this statute, neither the ECB, nor a national central bank, nor any member of their decision-making bodies shall seek or take instruction from Community institutions or bodies, from any government of a member state or from any other body.  The Community institutions and bodies and the Governments of the member states undertake to respect this principle and not to seek to influence the decision-making bodies of the ECB and of the national central banks in the performance of their tasks.”

Thus, not only will government ministers be unable to even speak with the board of the European Central Bank, but the Chancellor’s much publicised meetings with the Governor of the Bank of England will actually be illegal.