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The Euro – ten years now, isn’t it? How’s that working out for you guys?

Ten years ago today a Guardian headline read Euro lobby demands stronger lead.

Lord Heseltine effectively accused Mr Blair of a lack of nerve as he dismissed the government’s five economic tests as a “protective barrier” behind which it could “cower in order to have apparently intellectually defensible reasons for putting things off”.

On the next day, 1 January 2002, the same newspaper reported on the launch of the Euro.

The mood was uniformly upbeat at parties, pageants and ceremonies bidding farewell to once-treasured marks, francs, pesetas and lire.

“Our countdown is leading towards a new era,” Wim Duisenberg, the Dutch president of the European Central Bank (ECB), declared in Frankfurt. “By using euros, we will give a clear signal of the confidence and hope we have in tomorrow’s Europe.”

On a day of highs, Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor, hit the highest note. “We are witnessing the dawn of an age that the people of Europe have dreamed of for centuries: borderless travel and payment in a common currency,” he said in a new year message.

Mr Prodi marked the change by buying flowers in euros, not schillings, on a visit to Vienna. And in remarks that will alarm a British government watching uncomfortably from the sidelines, the former Italian prime minister pledged that the arrival of the euro in people’s pockets would lead “ineluctably” to more economic coordination – the great fear of sceptics.

Lest anyone be tempted to gloat, here is a final quote, this one dating only from a month or two ago, from Patrick Crozier of this parish:

How to stop worrying about “contagion”

Just remember that every country in the Western world already has the disease.

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6 comments to The Euro – ten years now, isn’t it? How’s that working out for you guys?

  • John B

    I suspect the empire builders won’t let the euro go, though.

    If it crashes it will just be metamorphosed into something bigger, more all-encompassing and more destructive.

    Whatever. All the best for the year ahead!

  • Jeffersonian

    The answer is more leeches, John, it’s always more leeches.

  • There’s always the Italian solution: Devalue and print more.

  • So, someone did read it! Many thanks for the namecheck, Natalie.

  • Andrew Zalotocky

    The creation of a single European state is the purpose and ideology of the EU. The “empire builders” will pursue it without regard to the cost or the will of the people. So they will create a situation in which opposition to the Euro becomes synonymous with opposition to the EU. They will impose such terrible hardship on the people of Europe in their attempts to save the Euro that opposition to the EU will in turn come to be seen as a matter of national survival. The arrogant fools will destroy their own project through their ideological inflexibility.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so Natalie (and Patrick and …).

    Nothing for me to add – nothing I can think of anyway.