David McWilliams: We need to show ECB it's not the only show in town
To stroll around the old walled city of Dubrovnik on the Croatian coast is to savour one of Europe's gems. From its marbled streets to the immense baroque cathedral, the heavily fortified harbour and the oldest pharmacy in the world, ancient Dubrovnik exudes affluence. In fact, many of the cities of Dalmatia's coastline -- where I am writing from -- attest to huge past wealth.
With the world's oldest orphanage (founded in the 14th century) and one of Europe's oldest synagogues, it's clear the people of Dubrovnik were both enlightened and tolerant. So where did the cash come from?
The Dubrovnik Republic was one of a number of very powerful city-states that emerged in the Middle Ages of which Venice was the most powerful and influential. The city-states were constantly playing the role of middleman between the big powers, sensing the big powers' weaknesses and anticipating their next move.