TransMonEA Research Seminar Currency, Crises Representations of Money and Economy. 2nd Thematic Cycle 2021-2022 International Institutions and Experts’ Networks: Modern State and Actors of Rationalization.

26/11/2021, 17.00-19.00: “National and International Actors in the Economy of Interwar Southeastern Europe”

Matthias Morys (University of York), Michalis Sarras (TransMonEA Research Team)


Central Banks in Interwar South-East Europe between Domestic and International Constraints, by Matthias Morys.

While the 1920s reconstruction efforts witnessed a global trend from commercially oriented banks of note issue to modern central banks, the South-East European (SEE) experience was unique in the level of international involvement. In the cases of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia, the League of Nations loans, secured to replenish central bank reserves and hence enable gold standard membership, came in exchange for statutory independence and international financial supervision; safeguards demanded by Britain and France gave a chequered pre-war record, high debt levels and chronically weak budgets. Financial supervision remained intrusive, undermining the public perception of the nascent central banks and constraining their room for domestic manoeuvre. It was shown that this tension between domestic and international constraints was particularly pronounced during the heyday of the gold standard in SEE (1924-1932) but did not go away until the late 1930s. Central bankers in the region were heralded by a small, cosmopolitan elite. They were well-suited to mediate between the government and the League of Nations, maximising their influence and safeguarding the independence of their institutions in the process.


Global Institutions in the Interwar Balkans: League of Nations and Bulgaria by Michalis Sarras.

The seminar presentation will focus on the economic policies implemented by the League of Nations in Bulgaria and especially on the financial goals and impact of these policies during the Interwar period.

The League of Nations played a prominent role in Bulgaria’s post –war situation. It engaged with Bulgarian affairs on three different occasions: once in connection with a political controversy (the Bulgaro-Greek frontier incident) and twice for the purpose of helping Bulgaria to face pressing economic and financial problems. Two Bulgarian loans were floated under the auspices of the League: The Refugee Settlement Plan in 1926 and the Bulgarian Stabilisation loan in 1928. In connection with these loans, the public finances of Bulgaria were placed practically under the supervision of the League via the organisational structures of the LoN’s Financial Committee.


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