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Euro founding father Lamfalussy dies

Alexandre Lamfalussy, credited as one of the founding members of the euro currency, has died, according to Belgian media. The European Central Bank (ECB) called his work essential for the currency union.

Belgian economist Alexandre Lamfalussy, who played a central role in establishing the eurozone's

single currency

, the euro, died on Monday, Belgian media reported. He was 86.

Lamfalussy left his native Hungary after World War II and became a citizen of Belgium, where he studied at the Catholic University of Leuven - also known as Louvain - and later at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

He held various jobs at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, before becoming its director in 1993.

Knights and baron

In 1994, he moved on to become the president of the European Monetary Institute, the predecessor organization of the European Central Bank - a position he held until 1997.

During those years, Lamfalussy oversaw the implementation of a new system meant to streamline EU regulation of the financial services industry, known as the Lamfalussy process.

In a statement

, the ECB said "core building stones" of the common currency had been put in place under Lamfalussy and referred to the renowned economist, who also taught at Leuven in Belgium and Yale University in the United States, as "one of the euro's founding fathers."

In recognition of his achievements, Lamfalussy was knighted and bore the title of baron.

hg/cjc (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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