Assessing the value of the Euro

Selling England by the pound?

The Euro is the currency of twelve European Union countries, stretching from the Mediterranean to the Arctic Circle. Euro banknotes and coins have been in circulation since 1 January 2002 and are now a part of daily life for over 300 million Europeans living in the euro area. But what do we mean when we talk about the Euro. As we all know a coin or a note was no value in itself, no real useful value and is really a promissory token of credit that can be redeemed for goods or services to the value stated. This is true of all money in the modern age and becomes obvious when you read the small print on a pound note, which states “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of” So money is really a credit note, like an impersonalised cheque, which is swapped for anything you need to the value stated. So if the Euro is note in itself the issue what is?

The Euro represents a multi-national union, an idea that has grown in power since the Second World War. Having its birth in the Bretton Woods system, which was designed to create economic stability following the upheavals of the Second World War, the idea of a united Europe has always seemed like a solution to many of the problems of the fractious nature of Europe. Through out the seventies and eighties the blueprint for an European Monetary System evolved and various continental nations signed up to be part of the system that would ensure borderless economies, peace and stability through out the land.

But the economic harmony that the single monetary system heralded is still being sought. The system of integration of countries into a European Union is a long way off yet. There is a historical argument that Europe of the past, well at least Western Europe, has been subject to dominance by a single regime, namely the Roman Empire and to a lesser degree the vast empire of Charlemagne. The difference is in these past times the sense of national identity of the subjects was much less than it is today and it was a time when one nation could exert its will on another through sheer aggression. These days are largely gone and today such empires are the creation of politicians. And that is where things begin to go wrong. With the personal allegiance of most politicians being more firmly rooted in personal gain than public service a potentially good idea has no chance of getting off of the ground in the near future. Many nations would rather keep control of their own identity; and the obvious symbols of a country are its coinage and its flag, both of which are lost, rather than give them up to a system that has yet to prove itself to have much worth. The old idea of the Common Market as it was first called in the sixties, the major selling point of a unbounded and single currency driven economic system seems further from reality than ever as duties soar and taxes spiral upwards. Even the big supporters of the idea namely Germany and France seem less convinced than ever that the system works. Poorer countries joining the system have everything to gain by joining the system as it works towards a common denominator that is above their current status, but the better off countries play the other side of the balance and find that initially at least they have a lot to give up. Okay in theory, maybe some sort of economic karma that we have had coming, but when it’s all about the pound, should I say, Euro in your pocket, who amongst us is that generous.

Countries that have changed over have not yet been rewarded with any major improvements to their life; many far from it as the control of their individual national policies are hijacked by the nameless, faceless, watchers that parade the carpeted corridors of Brussels. As you may be able to tell, I am not convinced that it is a move that we should be making, but I’m afraid the will of the people is not going to be taken into account on this issue. As the present government has proved beyond doubt, this democratically elected group are only prepared to put the decision in the hands of one man, Tony Blair, a man that in the next week or so will in all likelihood be questioned over his involvement in selling peerages to his loyal friends. Not the man that I would trust to make an impartial decision on my behalf.