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The European Union and the Euro - True Accord ?


For those who fondly recall the days of the Lira, Franc, Deutschemark and Drachma - among other European currencies - as beautiful and unique expressions of history and culture  (the currencies mentioned represented Italy, France, Germany and Greece)  the introduction of a common currency - the Euro - was shocking and an event to regret.

The post - World War II Common Market (also known as the European Economic Community / EEC, or the European Community) was the predecessor to the European Union. One of the charms of the Common Market was its efforts to bring about a working consensus among its members while maintaining a solid, healthy respect about what made each of its member states unique. The Common Market had an eminently respectful run, existing from 1958 to 1993.

Since its formation in 1993, the European Union has made some real progress on such issues as greater ease in border crossings, elements of justice and international law within the Union, smoother and more rapid lines of communication, business planning and a unified, single market.

The Euro has been quite a different story.  11 states launched the currency - 1/1/1999 - but others (such as Sweden) have consciously avoided meeting the convergence criteria that would take them from their own bills and coins.  Britain steadfastly stands by the pound sterling.  11 other currencies still remain in use within the EU at present.

Since its launch, the Euro has become the second reserve currency in the world, behind the US dollar. The Euro has appreciated decently relative to the dollar, but has fallen considerably from its comparative peak.  It is fair to say that many years will pass - if the time ever comes to be - before the Euro would begin to exert the numerous influences necessary to place it in a position of global pre-eminence.


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