The passing of a friend.

Author:Engelen, Klaus

In the years leading up to the introduction of the euro, Hans Tietmeyer, then president of the Bundesbank, was at the center of an historic post-war process of European integration. Hailed as the "guardian of the D-Mark," Tietmeyer played a crucial role in preparations for the establishment of the European Central Bank. Tietmeyer died on December 27, 2016, at the age of eighty-five.

"Hans Tietmeyer was an outstanding president, who always acted with a clear and firm hand that followed the goal of monetary stability," Jens Weidmann, the current Bundesbank president, said in a statement. "What I appreciated most was that he was a true European, and that was manifested on many occasions," said Jean-Claude Trichet, former ECB president, whofor many years as French finance secretary worked closely with Tietmeyer.

As the last president of the once independent and mighty Bundesbank from 1993 to 1999, Tietmeyer put in all his weight into making sure that the countries joining the euro would be held to strict spending limits and that the European Central Bank would be established in a framework of securing price stability as top priority.

It was not a secret that Tietmeyer on the one hand seemed convinced politically that "there was no alternative to the euro," but on the other was deeply worried that the failure of governments to respect fiscal rules would create tensions between member states and undermine monetary union. As an architect of the eurozone's Stability and Growth Pact which sets ceilings for government deficits and debt limits, he was alarmed as Germany and France started to ignore these limits. And he considered the euro sovereign debt crisis as a manifestation of member countries not sticking to the SGP rules.

Bom in 1931 near Munster, Tietmeyer grew up as a devout Catholic in a family of eleven children. One of his professors, Joseph Hoffner, who later became archbishop of Cologne, led him toward economics and social science with a Christian frame of reference.

Tietmeyer started his long civil service career in Bonn's economic ministry in 1962, during Konrad Adenauer's fourth term. Adenauer's economic minister Ludwig Erhard, whose market-oriented policies laid the foundation of what became Germany's...

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