They said it would never be agreed. Then they said it would never be launched. Then they said it would fail. When it was a success, the euro-haters still insisted that the single currency was a recipe for economic chaos and political instability. The phobes are proving to be wrong again. At a time when so much of Europe’s political leadership is in flux, the single currency is the steadying point in an uncertain and worrying world.
Imagine that the recent turbulence on the continent had occurred when Europe still traded in pre-euro currencies. What would have happened to the French franc when neo-fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen forced the Prime Minister to quit? The franc would have plunged. What would have happened to the Dutch guilder when an anti-immigration party with a dead leader impelled itself into government? The guilder would have plunged too. Before a German election too close to call, even the stolid old mark would be gyrating. And instability in currency markets would be fuelling even more political chaos: a vicious, downward cycle.
That this has not happened is thanks to the euro. The single currency has taken all this political upheaval in its calm stride.
- From an anonymous editorial in the Observer headed “A tolerant euro”.
From 2002, in case you were wondering.