After the fun - the real challenge

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They were sent from Athens, London and Madrid. They burned the midnight oil and engaged in intellectual debate, hammering out the finer points of monetary union. But by spring, the economists will be rolling up their spreadsheets and leaving Frankfurt as the European Monetary Institute is transformed into the European Central Bank. In the meantime, the battle for influence has to be won all over again. In the committee rooms, it is already beginning. By Laura Covill.