It was at a weekly ESM management board meeting some years ago that the idea first emerged to write the story of the rescue funds. Our story is deeply intertwined with that of the euro crisis, and it therefore provides some important chapters in the history of the euro, whose 20-year anniversary we are celebrating this year. Since the rescue funds were created only recently, all the key players were still available to recount their part in the story. With this in mind, we interviewed many of those who contributed to setting up the temporary EFSF and permanent ESM so the tale could be told by those who first envisaged and then built the institutions.
We are deeply indebted to those who took the time to share their memories with us. They all played a role in shaping the euro area’s response to the crisis: as finance ministers, leaders and representatives of institutions, and programme country experts. We would like to thank those who spoke with us: Maria Luís Albuquerque, Benjamin Angel, Marco Buti, Alfred Camilleri, Kevin Cardiff, Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Vítor Gaspar, Timothy Geithner, Vittorio Grilli, Georges Heinrich, Deborah Henderson, Christine Lagarde, John Lipsky, David Lipton, George Papaconstantinou, Olli Rehn, Michael Sarris, Wolfgang Schäuble, Yannis Stournaras, Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, Jean-Claude Trichet, Euclid Tsakalotos, Maarten Verwey, Thomas Weinberg, and Thomas Wieser. We would also like to thank those who provided written comments: Mário Centeno, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Luis de Guindos, Mario Draghi, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Peter Kažimír.
But we could not have chronicled the creation of the institution without the first-hand accounts of those who were on the inside from day one, especially Klaus Regling, ESM managing director and the founder of the rescue funds. Chief Economist Rolf Strauch, Deputy Managing Director and Chief Finance Officer Christophe Frankel, and Secretary General Kalin Anev Janse were among the first to join Regling, as were a number of ESM colleagues from the various divisions and departments, from junior to senior level, many of whose voices you will hear throughout this book. A number of ESM colleagues were also later involved in the daunting task of reviewing several drafts of the book and annexes, as well as contributing expert material. Without their admirable efforts, this book could not have been written.
We were fortunate to have Rebecca Christie as our lead author for this book. A former Bloomberg reporter in Brussels, she covered the crisis and its aftermath until 2016 when she established herself as an independent writer. We owe a great deal to her profound background knowledge, quick grasp of new information, compelling writing style, and ability to work under immense time pressure.
Special thanks go to Thomas Wieser, President of the Eurogroup Working Group until early 2018, who reviewed the final book manuscript and provided extremely valuable comments.
Safeguarding the euro in times of crisis: The inside story of the ESM could not have been published in its final form without the invaluable support of the Publications Office of the European Union in Luxembourg and its very dedicated staff. We are very grateful for their work on this book, their advice, and assistance. We would also like to thank Emma Vandore and James Neuger, whose expertise helped to transform this project into reality.
Most big undertakings have unsung heroes. For this publication there are two: one is Sharman Esarey, the ESM’s principal editor. Without her outstanding talent as an editor and her exceptional social skills there would simply not have been such a book. The same is true for Assistant Editor Rachel Calero. Her unparalleled organisational skills and her friendly insistence on deadlines and deliveries brought structure to a process that sometimes seemed too complex to master.
ESM management board
Credit: Steve Eastwood/ESM