The Euro

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The Euro

To most people in the United States hearing the word Euro brings about blank stares. Ask this same question in England or another European country and it means bringing Europe together under one common currency. The Euro can be defined as the common monetary system by which the participating members of the European Community will trade. Eleven countries Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland and Italy will comprise the European Economic Monetary Union that will set a side their national currency and adopt the Euro in 2002. A new National bank, based in Frankfurt Germany, will be constructed and the interest rates that control the economies of these nations will be in the hands of this new system. It is indeed a great experiment, being masterminded in Frankfurt, one that will be felt through out Europe as well as the rest of the world.1

The combined countries, now more commonly referred to as Euroland, will fall under one national bank. This bank, the European Central Bank, will determine the economic fate of the entire “Union”. The merging of eleven currencies is a daunting and somewhat lethal task. The ECB is comprised of seventeen members, each having one vote within the governing council. What has most Europeans concerned is the ECB’s secrecy of conducting business. There is no voting record nor will there be published minutes of the meeting that take place. Wim Duisenberg president of the ECB and a native Dutchman stated that he wanted the ECB to be one of the most open banks in the world.1 When BBC reporter Steve Levinson confronted him about this in Frankfurt Germany Wim replied

I reconcile these two positions by not defining openness as publishing everything that will be available, but by defining openness as explaining every decision, every consideration. Also the pros and cons and to be very open about that and to be frequent and immediate in that openness. (Livinston, Euroland 3)

Why does the ECB operation so much secrecy? Is does not want economic policy moved by political influence. In January of this year the Bank of Ireland became a regional branch of the ECB. Morris O’Connell, its governor, supports the ECB’s tight lips stating I don’t think it’s appropriate that you should be announcing how each person may have voted. I think you’re creating other p...

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...ause they cannot gauge the governing council’s true thinking. The fourth concern of the implementation of a solitary currency in Europe is that of who is in control?4 Officially the ECB is independent and answers to no political nation. But can one council possibly have the ability to control and balance eleven different economies at the same time? Some say no, but if it can even succeed only a little bit what is good for one economy may not be good for another. This leads into the final concern: Does one economy fit all? When the economy is in the basement the first thing that politicians ask for is a cut in interest rates. In the beginning this may give the desired results but in the long run may entirely destroy an economy. It becomes macroeconomics versus microeconomics.4 What is good for the economy as a whole may not be good for every sector and region.

What one can conclude by the scheme of things that the Euro is going to happen. What the out come will be and what effects it will have towards the economic world can only be speculated. The entire world will be watching as the largest economic experiment of our time unfolds before in front of us half way around the world.

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