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The euro: your views
The euro: your views
We have now stopped publishing your comments on this programme. Thank you for all your e-mails. As we have received so many it has not been possible to publish them all, but please do not be discouraged from sending your comments in the future.
We need a detailed outline of pros and cons of joining the euro, not just hearsay.
What a disappointing level of debate: two sides with entrenched views applauding rehearsed clichés. Couldn't we have some people with expertise in economics giving comments to floating voters without applause so that we can actually try to make up our minds on the basis of the relative benefits or disadvantages? As a public service broadcasting company, this is what the BBC should provide.
I just think we should decide, as the Danes did, once and for all, whether we join or not. I don't agree with all its consequences, but yet I do envisage personally its benefits to outweigh the downsides: peace, closer economic ties with Europe and the EU, and a stronger bloc to face the US.
It's a fallacy to insist that taking on the euro will lead to a loss of identity for the British. Do we really believe that the French, the Germans, the Spanish and the rest are committing cultural suicide by allying their economies? They're far more likely to feel their cultures are under threat with Britain playing a key role in Europe. The English language has become the lingua franca of the world, and we are the custodians of the culture it expresses. We will be British as long as we want to be British, whether we give up the pound or not. Europe will mean that individual cultures at trans-national (eg francophone), national and what are seen currently as regional cultures will be able to show their rich diversity instead of being subsumed as now in false nationalisms, for example the Welsh, Cornish and Scots in Britain, the Basques and the Catalans in Spain. All this talk of domination by Brussels is xenophobic nonsense, a wrong-headed perception of "us" and "them". As Europe becomes more integrated politically we will all have our say in the way things are run. There'll be MORE devolution, MORE democracy, not less! The way euro sceptics talk, you'd think the other EU countries are just waiting to gang up on us!
On the programme you asked people to vote on the euro but your own panel of EXPERTS could not agree on the facts. When will the British voters be given the true facts of both for and against so they can make their own choice, or will this never happen in the real world?
Very useful programme, but the vote on air seems to reflect the competence of the programme makers, getting pretty equal numbers representing both sides of the argument; whereas your online vote may give a more accurate answer. Should this difference be communicated in your next programme if you are not to be accused of bias?
Britain has to be a shaper of Europe. The anti-euro lobby goes on about regulations and federalism and signals it discontent, but holds no desire to change opposing views. We can only shape Europe from within and not from the sidelines. We will turn up in ten years time and ask to join and the rules and conditions will have been set for us. Our influence and credibility with our European partners will have diminished.
I watched your euro broadcast and was very impressed. I am only sorry that the programme was not given higher billing than a late Sunday evening slot. With a euro referendum being a distinct probability in the not-so-distant future I am staggered that the government has not commissioned a no-nonsense public awareness campaign so that the electorate can make an informed decision when the time comes to vote on the issue. I am a lawyer with a European business background and I found the programme interesting and informative. It terrifies me that the British electorate will vote on the euro whilst being largely uninformed about the issues, or informed only by tabloid headlines. In my opinion it is rightly something that should go to referendum, but the electorate must be more informed first. There should be more programmes of the nature of this evening's Panorama that brings important politics down to a level that people can understand. At least that way when we all vote on the issue we are making an informed
decision based on the facts, rather than based on fear of change, or
alternatively, fear of missing the euro bandwagon.
I have two questions. First, what will happen to Britain¿s gold reserves should we join the euro? Will they be physically transferred to the Central Bank? Second, how will we manage our "personal affairs" such as Northern Ireland or the Falklands? Would we have to ask the European Bank for money to step up security or to go to war, and what would happen if we were denied that money?
I am happy to see an attempt to put some of the economic and political arguments on the euro being looked at coherently outside the political party framework. For too long those against the euro on economic or political principles have been branded "little-Englanders" when nothing could be further than the truth. To be pro-EU and anti-euro is a very sensible and logical position given the problems of the current set-up of the currency area.
No one picked up the non co-operation from the French on the beef issue! The French will not play the game unless it suits them.
Surely, like the EU, Britain is heterogeneous. How can people claim that one-size-fits-all won't work for Europe? It (ie interest rates etc) already doesn't and has never suited even England, never mind Britain. Euro-sceptic arguments are transparent and are based on lies so that they can further line their own already bulging pockets to the disadvantage of normal folk.
Those in favour of joining the euro who argue that so doing will give Britain greater influence in a world where we cannot act independently of external events fail to see the difference between influence and power. Britain has been "influenced" by external events for centuries; it is no recent phenomenon. The important point is for Britain to retain the power to make its own decisions, not regress to a position merely influencing those outside Britain to whom we have given away that power.
Very interesting programme, but why did David Dimbleby keep saying "IF" we have a referendum? Surely he is aware that this Labour Government has "PROMISED" to have a referendum within two years of this term in power? Or are we being brain-washed with subversive suggestion, so we might forget this? As for me, definitely NO to the euro. I only spend two weeks a year on holiday abroad; the rest of the year I'm here in England.
Such a lot of political "smog" is generated about the EU that many people are confused and confounded regarding the whole matter. There are many separate and conflicting issues, which simply provide politicians with bottomless opportunities to proliferate and further confuse. Cannot the issues be clearly separated into a series of specific and clear proposals, which could be sensibly discussed and eventually put to vote. This is the time-honoured method used by business, and are not we shareholders in Britain?
We are the world's fourth biggest economy and, said Michael Howard of the anti-euro camp, this means we should not listen to the twelve countries who have adopted the single currency. Can he - or anyone else - reconcile our supposed economic superiority with our acknowledged position at the bottom of the European league tables for health, transport, environmental issues and the generally poor quality of life we endure here compared with our less economically successful partners? Low taxes and a big bank account don't compensate for late trains, dirty cities and a chaotic health service. What constitutes a "successful" economy? Why do we lose our identity if we get closer to Europe, but not - apparently - if we throw in our lot with USA as advised by Lady Thatcher et al.?
Mainland Europe - 25 miles away. USA - 3000 miles away. Who does it make more sense to align ourselves with for economic development?
The Panorama debate revealed a massive change in attitude to the euro. Until recently two-thirds of voters were against joining. Panorama showed a narrow gap with antis only some five points ahead. At the time of writing, your website carries 44 messages: 23 or 52.3 per cent are for joining, 18 (40.9 per cent) are against and three (6.8 per cent)unsure. Most antis base their case on emotional grounds and would stick to sterling even if it meant economic hardship. (One message declares: "We are British, not European"). I believe three factors are behind the change. First, the Sept. 11th events which made it clear that the developed world must stick together to face irrational terrorism. Second, the increasing isolation and seeming indifference of the USA to the needs of the rest of the world as witnessed by its refusal to sign up to the Kyoto agreements and its imposition of tariffs on steel imports. Many now believe the USA uses its economic strength to impose its will on the rest of the world and that this must be counter-balanced by an equally strong bloc such as a European Union capable of tougher resistance through its single currency. The third factor is the growing realisation by ordinary people who travel abroad that the euro has done away with all the aggro and expense of the old currencies. I am in favour of joining.
It's a simple choice: democracy or dictatorship? Which do you prefer?
To join the euro would involve the devaluation of the pound by approx 30%! I suggest that all change their pounds into US dollars. The majority of trade is not with the countries of the EU. The figures given by the pro-euro camp relate to all goods that are exported via any European port, ie the goods that are in transit to the likes of Russia, Australia, Africa and even the USA. Only about 30% go to the EU. 70% elsewhere. The scaremongerers who say that NOT to join would cost exports and jobs are only scare mongering. It is also true that as we have a government incapable of running this country's services, a European one might be better. If it is not, then how do we change them? - we can change this one!
Given the debate produces a 50-50 split give or take, clearly half will eventually be proved wrong - or right; if this is to be little more than a 50-50 gut feel punt perhaps a prominent businessman from each side - say Branson and Kalms - should each give their assessment of the consequences for the country of their views being proved wrong. We lived through the great surprise - and pain - of the ERM failure; on present voting figures there will be no surprise next time for 50% of us, it is just a question of which 50%. Maybe if we had such an assessment, fewer may be surprised or disappointed.
I have just watched the programme online in the US. The disingenuousness on the part of the pro side was incredible. There is one basic truth about the euro (or fourth Reich mark, as it should be called) which the pro campaign constantly seeks to bury. That is for a single currency to be successful and sustainable in the long term, it must be underpinned by a single fiscal policy and a single government. The euro is the political blunt instrument which will be used to create a United States of Europe. If we go in, we will never be able to leave. That's too big a price to pay for avoiding the Bureau de Change en route to Malaga.
I thought the euro debate was weakly realised. There were far too many people trying to express opinions which lead to a fragmented debate based on interrupted sound bites. It looked more like a game show than a serious intellectual exercise. I saw no justification of the expense involved with running four simultaneous studios when there is a plethora of interactive options these days. Not least the telephone. The programme was too ambitious and would have been much better if less had been more. I thought it was an unusually dreary performance by the excellent team behind so many outstanding editions of Panorama.
If I see or hear the word "xenophobic", in relation to the euro debate, once more I shall scream. Why, oh why is that word constantly being used when someone puts up an argument against the euro? I am very patriotic and do not want to lose what little power over our affairs we still have in this country. On the other hand I love visiting Europe and have family and friends in France, Spain and Italy. I am not xenophobic or racist or any other insulting adjective that the "pros" care to use in place of a credible argument.
Simon Buckby stated in the programme that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would still have control over domestic taxation. But he cannot zero-rate the restoration of ancient buildings by charities because the VAT minimum decreed by Brussels is 5%. Brussels does of course allow him to increase VAT as much as he likes.
What a great shame it is that Margaret Thatcher was not more assertive over the EU threat to democracy during her time as Prime Minister. Imagine the money we might have saved! One and a quarter million pounds of each hour of every day bleeds from our economy towards financing membership of a club which uses a large slice of that revenue via laws and edicts designed to strangle, or even close down totally, our own self-determination and sovereignty. OK, so SOME of the cash "comes back" in the form of EU "grants" and subsidies. BIG DEAL! It is also financing the growing number of unelected Eurocrats (Neil Kinnock and Leon Britten included) who are engaged in killing the democracy of their very own birthright! If ONLY the media of this country (and in particular the BRITISH(?) Broadcasting Corporation) were to have widely and properly reported the laws and impositions placed upon us by Brussels over the past 20 years then perhaps the electorate would now be basing their assessment of our plight upon judgements more profound than the "inconvenience" of currency exchange.
Since there has not yet been any assessment by the Treasury of its five economic tests (although it seems to be generally agreed that at the moment it is unlikely that they would be met), on what basis can Britain in Europe and other pro-euro groups already be canvassing for a yes vote? Do they consider that the tests are irrelevant, and that no matter what the outcome of the assessment, Britain should join the euro?
Having watched the recent televised debate on Panorama I am becoming increasingly concerned that so many people seem to view our adoption of the euro in terms of convenience when travelling in Europe, rather than seeing any problems resulting from our loss of control over interest rates, taxation and public spending.
I think industry is not being totally honest to the public about the difficulties it says it is experiencing 'outside' the euro. I am a small retailer and I have had a euro bank account and cheque book with HSBC for the last two years. I've not used it yet, but it's there. If I want to take euros or pay a European supplier in euros I can. So what's the problem with the current status? Those people who are motivated by easier holiday access to Europe have not taken on board that the pound will have to be "devalued", that means that the holidays will cost more compared with our earnings. Currently, we can enjoy cheaper holidays to Canada and other countries precisely because the pound is strong. The German representative debased our right to "debate" our future. He said "We ( the Germans) have the euro and you have a debate". Let me reframe that for him: "We ( the United Kingdom) have choice and flexibility, they have no choice and rigidity." The law of "Requisite Variety" says that " In any system, the element in that system with the widest range of variability will be the controlling element". So maybe that is why the rest of Europe wants the UK to be constrained?
I had hoped to be enlightened re the pros and cons of the entry to
the euro. What we got was more like one of those early am TV shows with opposing sides just baying at each other and little logical argument. Michael Howard was the only one coming close the logical discussion, and as for Richard B, he should concentrate on his trains. What I had hoped for (and would have expected from a programme of Panorama's standing) was a considered discussion, with the emotion removed, analysing the different consequences of entry, showing the potential benefits and downsides, the potential consequences of each issue and the probability of its occurrence. Would you therefore provide a euro II programme that meets this criteria? I guess you may have used academics to get a balanced view (or at least a different set of politicians and business people). After all the time this debate has been raging, I can't say that I have seen such an approach and whilst I feel I am relatively well informed I do not feel I have been given sufficient facts to make a confident decision. I know it's not clear cut or an easy decision - that's why we need all of the facts laid out so that we can, on balance, make a choice when the time comes. Not to be herded by the rhetoric of the day.
I watched your Panorama programme with the same frustration that I find occurs with all such programs on today's TV. I have no view on the euro either way.
1. As usual the politicians had the same glint as they played their games especially Howard enjoying his skills in demolishing Branson - one of the few who seem to be interested in the consumer. Branson highlighted cars, TVs and several other examples and Howard picked on one item and one country to trickily out-argue his "opponent". So once again it came down not to the issues but the verbal combat skills of the participants.
2. David Dimbleby's assertion that this was democracy at work was the clearest misstatement of the night. Why does the government decide if and when a referendum is taken? Simply to wait until it is clear that the answer they want will be achieved! Is that following the will of the people? All your program did was give them a little more information on whether and when to hold a referendum.
3. There is certainly a need for clear information on the issues but not in a circus of USA-style game-playing. We need a proper presentation of the arguments (old-style Panorama) for both sides dealing with eg the effects on interest rates, employment, value of our money etc. presented in a balanced way. This is an important decision and should not depend on propaganda or the relative argument skills of politicians and certainly not the views of Blair who is actually (he will be amazed to know) just one man.
4. Each month I put £750 on the table and decide how I will use it to live. I suspect I am about average for the population of the UK - if so there are millions like me, I want to know what will happen to my spending power in £s under the euro. I am not worried about high minded arguments like sovereignty.
5. The sovereignty of the UK and democracy for me amount to being able every five years to choose between two groups of politicians who are virtually indistinguishable and, in between, watch them make decisions to spend and give away my money on items which they have no mandate to decide on - eg foreign aid and so called wars whilst I try to make minor adjustments to make my money last a month. So it matters not to me whether that is passed to different politicians in Europe. Indeed the major decisions of our politicians eg on the entry into and exit from the European monetary system cost us billions of pounds and the cost of bombing Iraq without achieving anything are just a few examples of why it matters not who makes these decisions. Could this be why 47%? of people do not vote - it is certainly my reason - I actively and angrily (not apathetically) choose none of the options.
6. I hear from your programme we are the fourth largest economy in the world. Clearly that is nice for the sort of people on your programme but for the rest of us I have lost on virtually every front over the past 10 / 20 years: mortgage / premium tax relief, marriage allowance, petrol tax, stealth tax, cost of health care and pension erosion to name but a few and the main social legislation helping the poorer people seems to have come from Europe - notably minimum wage and defining the minimum quality of some of our foods. The inflation rate feels ludicrous as even a cup of tea and a cake goes up by 30%+ (I can't justify the cost of even that pleasure any more) and pensions are kept way below an acceptable level. So what do I stand to lose in Europe? It seems to matter not at all? Hopefully someone will explain clearly what it will mean in down-to-earth terms.
I am still undecided as I have no clearer picture from your programme of the down-to-earth effects of joining and as usual what I heard rang of "spin" (ie deceit) and is therefore unreliable.
I hope that one day we are run totally from Brussels. Perhaps then we'll at last get a decent transport system, health service and the rest. Clinging on to "our sovereignty" to me just means more years of under-funding for all our public services. With regard to our railway system, Tony Blair and his cronies have now had six years to undo the privatisation mess left by the previous Tory government. Compared with the rest of Europe they are even more incredibly expensive and even more incredibly awful then they were. Messers Blair, Prescott and now Byers have achieved nothing, and the horror stories suffered by the British travelling public just get worse. The sooner we become fully integrated into Euroland the better.
We are the 4th largest economy in the world, 40% of our exports go to the EU the rest to 180 countries world wide with 150 different currencies. Since the inception of the Euro January 1999 it has devalued by 10 to 15% against sterling (which in turn has devalued 10% against the dollar), making it one of the worlds weakest currencies because of its weak underlying problems of over-regulation and one size fits all. Unemployment has increased to 10% in that time and rising, inward investment has dropped, whilst in UK unemployment has dropped to 5% and inward investment has soared to record proportions, 2001 exceeding the total of Germany, France and The Netherlands in total, and creating over 200,000 jobs. Analysis of those companies settling here shows clearly that the exchange rate is less important than the working conditions in the UK and the possibility of less intrusive regulations.
I am fed up having interest rates set for the benefit of London and the South-East .We should join the euro for the reasons already given by other contributors. Don't let the antis of Little Englandshire hijack the debate.
Michael Howard said that Britain will prosper outside the euro. That is true. It is also true that Britain will prosper inside the euro.
Britain has the ability to prosper whichever route we chose to take, and also the ability to be the leading nation in the European Union. Our natural place is in Europe. We should join the euro as soon as the economic criteria are met so that Britain can drive the future of Europe, rather than watching control of the EU drift away.
History should teach us that forcing people together into a single state, in this case a United States of Europe, is a recipe for disaster. Are our memories so short that we forget the break up of the USSR and of Yugoslavia? Entry into the euro would be the last stop on the journey marked Fourth Reich, with the only future being one of a European war as countries attempt to free themselves from this.
Having at last been allowed to read the cabinet papers, under the 30 year rule, relating to fishing and sovereignty can anyone doubt that the electorate was lied to at the time that the decision was made to join the Common Market?
Watching the programme I could see a lot of entrenched people hanging on to their personal arguments, and as usual applause for "wise words" or "clever phrases". At the end of the day, the public wants to know - as I heard someone comment - what will I have to give up and what will I get? These are crucial questions that require answers but they still have to be seen in a far wider sense. The question I would like some research into for a list of major benefits is: How will the European Union benefit (and so ourselves and our children's future as well) by the so-called fourth largest global economy joining it? If we are thinking of joining, let's think Europe! There's no point in resisting joining it because we are worried what effect it will have on our little island. We continue in a huff and do not play along, concerned that all our power has been taken away from us. I suspect the opposite will be the case. We talk about what a powerful nation we are: think of the power we could then bring to the European Union by joining a single currency - as money is the power that we wield. There was talk of fines if we go into dept like naughty little boys. Don't forget we will be a major representative in the European Parliament and more likely our ways of running our economy, which is so successful(?) will influence the rest of Europe, not the other way round.
One of the claims made by the "yes" campaigners was that joining the euro would enable high UK prices to level with European ones. I very much doubt that this would happen in reality. Our rip-off Britain culture would prevail with our localised euro prices remaining higher than most of our fellow nations. If we were to decide to join the euro I would want it to happen sometime AFTER the EU has expanded towards the east of Europe, in case the UK was dragged down by the burden of some of these countries with weaker economies.
Last night's Panorama programme on the euro was a disgrace to the BBC. It was a badly-controlled shouting match rather than a debate, so that even knowledgeable people like Simon Buckby lost their cool. The teams seem to have been selected rather for their celebrity status than their knowledge of the subject. The two leaders, the blustering Hattersley and the perpetually smirking Howard, presented their cases badly. The two businessmen, Branson and Martin, are mavericks who seem to be incapable of rational debate. Speakers like the Labour woman (June Lewis?) were allowed to get away with sweeping assertions (eg on taxation) which were factually incorrect. Why invite someone like the German Ambassador, who could have made a contribution of real substance, and allow him only two sentences? Irrelevant "facts", such as the respective price of Guinness in London and Dublin (nothing to do with the euro) were flung around without contradiction. All the more scientific polls show that the greatest need is for factual information about the euro and its pros and cons; the many don't knows are asking for this. Your programme was useless in this context. I am committed to the euro, but if had doubts I am sure it would not have helped me to make up my mind.
If we don't join the euro, we shall become another offshore state of the USA.
Why is Britain so afraid of change? The only way forward is to be part of a strong union. Our country is not perfect.
I believe that if anyone had any clear and objective sense of history they would know that yes, it will be inevitable. The political, historical and ideological dichotomy in developed western society, together with the American growth, have shifted the balance of power to the Atlantic axis. I am conscious of national identity, however, that will mellow in time into normality and folklore.
It is disappointing to see that people like Michael Howard are using this program as a political soapbox. Surely we, the public, deserve to be exposed to real debate on the issues and how we can evolve with the rest of the world, rather than have 'little Englanders' mouthing off.
France still bans the import of British beef, in spite of an EEC ruling. If this is an example of how Britain is treated by a fellow EU member, then we should say: thanks but no thanks to closer integration.
As an Englishman running a Dutch company selling British imports I cannot fathom why there is so much reluctance to joining the euro and facilitating trade with such a large and lucrative market.
The answer to the question should we adopt the euro in Britain is NO. I am living in Spain because my wife and I could not afford to live in Britain at a reasonable standard. Since living in Spain our standard of life has risen - or I say had risen - because since the introduction of the euro, prices have increased. I see no good reason for adopting a currency just for political policies. There is an old saying "if it isn't broke don't mend it". As the fourth economic country in the world we are not BROKE so DON'T MEND IT with a different currency, which will no doubt present us with another set of problems.
A nation's currency isn't just a matter of what the coinage is. It's a matter of democracy and sovereignty. If we relinquish our pound, we relinquish our sovereignty. We will have already lost our democracy if we are dragged into the euro without a fair vote. There is an old saying about marriage: "The partner who controls the finances controls the marriage". If we take on the euro, Britain will be controlled by the European Bank. We will no longer be an independent nation. I say a very big NO to the euro.
This is more important than merely the convenience of a shopping trip to Europe. Pretty soon another 10 economically weak countries will be joining the happy club. The competitive strength of this community will devalue accordingly. This may suit the bureaucrats in Brussels who I fear would happily see us all slip back to the living standards of a hill farmer but it's not for me, thank you.
People like Steve (London) seem to think that joining the euro will solve all the nation's problems (health, education, transport etc.) I rather think Blair and his cronies are responsible for this. Giving up our sovereignty FOR EVER to unelected bureaucrats comprised of failed politicians (yes, British ones like Kinnock as well as foreign) will certainly NOT improve anything. But then again, these euro-fanatics will try to use any argument they can to hoodwink the British people. The fact is, they hate Britain and everything about our proud history - have they forgotten that our Parliamentary system, imperfect though it may be, is mimicked by so many countries? Furthermore, they can't think of anything better than to call us euro-realists "Little Englanders". Well, this Little Englander for one speaks four European languages and is of foreign (European) extraction! KEEP the pound and keep our freedom - LOSE the pound and forget democracy - Westminster will be nothing than a glorified rubber stamp.
We are always being told that this project or that project has received an EU grant. As we get back less than half that we pay in budget contributions, which amount to £46 billion a year, what a lot this government could do with the other half for the British people. Why subsidise the EU when they plead shortage of funds for the NHS, police, education and defence? I have yet to hear what the real cost of joining the euro will be. No government minister has so far had the guts to give an honest figure for this exercise. I wonder why.
We have just turned the programme off in irritation at the petty point-scoring and irritating clapping. What a waste of informed contributors. Also, I have voted on the website, and there appears to be no mechanism to prevent multiple voting.
(Editor's note: Provided you are using the same computer, although you may be able to click the "vote" button more than once, the system will not count your vote again. Even if it looks as if the number of votes is increasing, this is due to other people voting at the same time, and does not reflect your additional votes.)
I increasingly believe that we should join the euro. Many of the arguments that the anti-camp puts forward are, to say the least, spurious. Not least among these is the question of Britain losing its culture. If you travel within the rest of Europe, then you will see just how strongly other European nations value and preserve their own cultures. The major threat to Britain's culture is not from our fellow Europeans, but from the insidious creep of dumbed-down American tat, from film to food. Another myth beloved of the anti-camp is that we are not European. However, even a passing analysis of our history (including that of the monarchy), geography and language easily proves otherwise. We need to salvage our culture AND progress beyond the resentful, small-minded, post-colonial position that we currently occupy. Perhaps joining the euro would, in ensuring our increasing integration into the rest of the continent and, at the same time, drawing us back from the US, help this process.
Surely this whole debate about whether or not we, the English public, want the Euro as our currency is irrelevant. First, I doubt if anybody can put forward a definitive economic case for going or staying out. Second, whether we, the public, like it or not, it will happen as the decision will be political. Third, all arguments about loss of sovereignty are irrelevant. At each summit meeting a little bit more of our sovereignty is eroded and we, the public, have no say in the matter. Finally, at the end of the day, the euro will not be a global currency. That prerogative will remain with the all-powerful US dollar: perhaps we should consider aligning with that currency!
It is a dangerous experiment and completely unnecessary. When we last had monetary union it resulted in Black Wednesday. We won't know if the euro is a success for at least 10 years.
I believe strongly that we would be extremely foolhardy to say "no" to the euro. It is not a question of Sovereignty but all to do with securing the economic future of Britain. If we stay out then we will see a steady drift of jobs and investment going to mainland Europe which will lead to a steady decline in Britain. My employer (UK plc) already does more business in euros than sterling. Yes there are risks with the euro, but the biggest risk of all is to do nothing.
Between 1939-1945 this country fought for the right to keep our independence and our own currency. We won thanks to the brave efforts of British men and women, and our allies. If we did adopt the euro, and enter a union fully and finally with our European neighbours, wouldn't that be the ultimate slap in the face and betrayal of those who fought and lost their lives at that time?
Of course we should join the Euro. Why are we so frightened of it? 12 other nations have joined already without all the fuss. We will join sooner or later, and the longer we leave it the less influence we will have.
A fundamental question. This is presented as a debate but the burden of proof is entirely on the "yes" campaigners. They wish to change the status quo and have completely failed to do so. This aspect is seldom acknowledged and is presented as a "debate" between two equally valid positions. Why ?
I doubt if many of our continental neighbours believe that by adopting the euro they will be subsumed into a super state and thus lose their national identity. The majority of them seem to believe that some integration will offer benefits not available by standing to one side. The idea that one¿s nationality can be even partially defined by a unit of currency is hard to grasp and seems to be unique to the English; already the comments (or lack of them) suggest that the Scots and Welsh are at least neutral on the issue. To suggest that language and unit of currency define nationality is difficult to grasp in a world where many nationalities share a language and/or a currency. What is it about us that makes us so fearful of something that others have accepted so readily? Why are we so prepared to accept without question every scare story put out by those, apparently for their own ends, determined to prevent us properly examining an issue? Wealthy individuals, many not living in this country, are spending millions of currency units to dissuade us from joining the euro and even to leave the EU. The same arguments are marshalled against the euro as against the metric system and as were produced at the time of decimalisation.
An issue that was conspicuous by its absence from the Panorama discussion was the degree to which national sovereignty has already been relinquished not to the European Union, but to big business. The anti-euro lobby is very keen to suggest that the British people's interests are best served by keeping economic policy entirely within the remit of their elected representatives at Westminster. But the increasingly globalised nature of capitalism, and the consequent power wielded by multinational companies across borders, renders national governments ever more powerless in face of various forms of economic blackmail (simplistically: "Do as we say, or we'll build the factory elsewhere"). It is only relatively large-scale political structures like the European Union that stand a chance of resisting the potentially catastrophic social and environmental consequences of this state of affairs, and of protecting all our rights as citizens - not just as "consumers". Whether the EU can develop the will and the foresight to do so is, of course, another matter.
The government has made few decent economic decisions during their term in office. However, one of the best decisions made was to make the Bank of England independent. This will be lost if we join the euro. Can one interest rate possibly fit all these diverse European countries? I think not.
How do the euro supporters substantiate their claim that one interest rate across Europe is the only way forward when we seem to have a problem with a single interest rate in the UK, with the North needing lower rates to generate industry and the South somewhat higher rates to hold house prices?
A point that is never raised: at the moment there are only 12 rich countries in the euro. What happens when the additional 10 very poor former Eastern block countries join within the next 5 years? I tell you what will happen.... subsidies, subsidies, subsidies to the poor Eastern block countries and guess who pays for these new additional subsidies: the 12 countries that are in the euro now! Ok so you will save a couple of quid through not having to pay for exchanging your holiday money once or twice a year, but you will have to pay thousands of euros more a year in higher prices on everyday goods due to subsidies.
How can anyone decide whether or not to join the euro without specifying the rate of exchange at which we should join and the likely effects of this rate on jobs, prices, the level of state benefits and so on? The debate simply demonstrated how ignorant most people are about these matters.
Sovereignty is a concept exploited by those who combine irrational xenophobia with a lack of confidence in democracy throughout Europe. What nonsense to suggest that the Germans, French or Italians have any less faith in their own sovereignty than the English. (I cannot speak for the Scots or Welsh).
As a UK citizen living in Germany I have been very impressed with the efficiency of the change-over and the way in which people, businesses and the government have prepared themselves and reacted to the new currency. It makes a real difference when travelling around the continent not to have to constantly revert back into the local currency and lose in commission and other charges. I think Europeans will really start to see the benefits this summer when the tourist season gets underway - the price transparency will lead to a much easier comparison of resorts and holidays. Britain should and could join - certainly the changeover would not be any more of a logistical challenge than it has been in Germany (65 million people compared with 85 million people) but, like any major project, the public has to get behind it to make it work. Germany is no less German for having the same currency as France, France is no less French having the same money as Italy. We should embrace the future in the open-minded and positive way 300 million other Europeans have.
a) Germans call the euro "Teuro" from teuer meaning expensive in German. Even in the few short weeks it has been with us prices have increased considerably. b) Much was made of the fact that budgets must be controlled, but the German deficit is already higher than permitted. Are they being fined? No!
It took couple of centuries to get the Channel Tunnel. The euro will probably take few decades to adopt. Because of this the citizens of the UK will miss out a lot as UK policy makers will not be able to help with regulation of the euro. Prices are not yet the same within Euroland, because we just started. Wait few years and some prices will rise, others go down. Vote for the euro now!
Madness! Britain can be on the sidelines carping and complaining, or be in the driving seat of Europe as a champion of free markets. We, in Ireland, the most open economy in the world, with the highest increase in GNP in the last 5 years, voted for the euro. The transfer was swift, painless and very successful. We now use the euro - and after two weeks almost all our currency was in euros. Join up - or lose out forever.
Businesses buying raw materials and selling finished goods internationally face an inherent currency risk, particularly when there is a time lapse between contract and payment. This risk can be offset by using the forward currency markets, but at an additional cost. This was OK as long as all our closest competitors face the same barriers. Now twelve of our nearest competitors have removed that cost for trade between themselves. Remaining outside the eurozone now imposes a greater burden on UK business to compete internationally. The result will inevitably affect the UK economy, including jobs.
Having read many of the comments already posted on this site, I was immediately struck by the fact that many of the pro-euro group weren't British, or living in this country. Are there just not enough pro-euro Britons to fill out this column?!
If we have to have a single currency so that trading barriers are decreased, wouldn't it be better if we had a single language? As the "global" language, it should be English. What do you think the French, Germans, and the rest of Europe would say about that?! Probably that they'd be losing their heritage...their identity...it would be a big "no"!!!
In the last 100 years only one assembly of countries has had a common currency. The Rouble was used in the USSR: perhaps few people have a long enough memory of the fiscal troubles which arose from the inability of a common currency to develop internal commerce.
I am in favour of joining the euro in principle. I think the positive effects of going into the euro have not be been fully put across. For example the cut in costs to business of up to 33%. I do have problems with of the democracy of how it is run and this must be addressed.
The argument that we always hear from the anti-Europeans is that the euro would not allow the freedom Britain now enjoys to set interest rates and other economic conditions to the best advantage of the UK economy. They site that the interest rates now set by the European Central Bank would not give the UK the competitive advantage it now enjoys when the Bank of England can independently set its targets. When these anti-Europeans state that the regions of Britain are finding it hard enough to deal with conditions set in London they are correct, however they extrapolate that it would surely be worse for the regions of the UK if these conditions were set in Brussels not London. As London and the South East is one of the most overheated regions of Europe and interest rates etc. in the UK are set entirely in reaction to this fact then regions like the North East would surely be better off competing with the liked of Catalonia, Bavaria and other European regions, with an interest rate set centrally in Europe to balance the interests of all regions rather than one set purely to benefit the South East.
We look to Europe for ideas to save our health service, and finance our road and railways. I think it is about time that people understood that if Europe's goodwill and tolerance of us is to continue we need to start showing some commitment to European ideals - of which the euro is one.
I'm sick of the short-sighted, poorly informed, xenophobic opinions that seem to be prevalent in this country. The government, as in many areas of its government is too afraid to give a real argument in defence of the Euro. As a result of all we get to hear is the opinion of poorly educated, ignorant tabloid readers who possess very little knowledge of politics or economics, and only know what their opinionated newspapers print.
Look at Europe: why are people afraid of being like those countries? For decades we have let Britain become America's "lap dog" and Tony Blair is only continuing this trend. Why do so many British people have a problem with the way that Europeans live?
I believe taxes are a central issue here. What is wrong with having a superior transport system, lower levels of poverty and lower levels of crime? People in Britain take a short-term view when it comes to these issues; the NHS and crime are a constant feature in the news, yet people always expect to get better services without paying for it! Lets here a balanced and WELL INFORMED debate on this topic, instead of letting "Middle Englanders" and Sun readers hijack it.
I think the notes and coins look very pretty. So, yes, of course we should join.
It is ludicrous for Michael Howard to say that joining the Euro would be the ERM all over again. If we had had a single currency instead of the ERM it wouldn't have been possible for speculators to pick off the weaker currencies one by one.
I have just come back from Germany. If Germany is so confident of the transparency of the euro, why did every bill have the DM equivalent shown under the euro amount?
I'm from Liverpool, but I live in the South East. I can't understand Richard Branson - he seems only interested in business and not in the well-being of ordinary workers in this great country.
I run an online business, and I believe the euro would be a good idea. It would allow us to import goods from Europe without the hassles of additional commission charges etc. It would also mean that we could trade with Europe like we do in the UK, allowing Europeans to buy from us with ease - without being hit hard again by excessive commission charges. On the whole, this would bring the costs of trading down, as well as increasing our customer base and overall growth.
Hello euro. Goodbye parliamentary democracy.
Just a simple no to the euro. We have proved that we run our country better without Europe. I want to keep my job, not go on the dole. A country must be free to decide its own monetary policy.
I wouldn't have a joint bank account with my best friend. Why is the euro any different?
Great Britain should never join the euro. It is much more than the convenience of having the same notes and coins as our European neighbours. Joining the euro would mean we would no longer have control of the country's affairs. We would be told what our interest rates could be and how to run our economy. In fact, the whole of our present way of governing our country would have to change, as we would be run by a commission we could never get rid of at the polling booth. This is the real debate over the euro and the one this lying Labour government will never let us have.
In a year, I will be old enough to vote and I hope in a year's time the pound will still remain. Why change a tradition which is commonplace to society and people nowadays? By joining the euro, we will lose something which many countries around Europe are losing-their identity. If the government is wise enough to take into account the opinions of all people, regardless of age or background, then they will most probably find an overwhelming vote of support for the pound. It is our future and lively hood you are dealing with Mr. Blair, please listen to the people for once on this issue rather than your influential advisors and European counterparts.
I think that it would be a huge mistake to join the euro. I for one do not want to lose my identity as a Briton, and believe that this would happen should we join. Also, we would have even less say than we currently do in any legal/political issues.
Predictably, there is quite a bit of xenophobia about. If people want to insult European institutions, they should at least get their facts right! Many people don't seem to know the difference between the ECB in Frankfurt and the EU Commission in Brussels. British interest rates are already determined, de facto, by international forces. The nation state has had its day. It's just a matter of time until we all realize it.
I think we have too many people in this country who are stupid enough to believe in tabloid opinion. A referendum would not carry us in the right direction, because too many people have been influenced in their decision for the wrong reasons.
The economic arguments about joining the euro are irrelevant, as the question is do we want to give up our nationality and do we have the right to steal our grandchildren's right to be British? I believe this is the more important question, and the answer must be NO.
I think the Great British Pound will have no place in the world market if it tries to stand alone. Although it's an uncomfortable move, to say the least, it's one of pure survival!
Reading the comments of those who oppose the euro, it seems that people are concerned that decision-making will move from London to Brussels. What are they worried about? That we might end up with a public transport system like the one in France, or a health service like that in Germany, or lower interest rates? Our own feckless politicians have achieved little of note over the last two decades. Bring on the euro and let's have closer European integration.
The issue here is not simply about a currency, rather who will rule Britain in the foreseeable future. The probability seems to be that if we cease to control our own currency, we are then well down the road to losing the bulk of our democracy to Europe. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why this could be remotely to our benefit.
Why the struggle to determine if we should join the euro? there is a simple answer. The euro, in principal as a currency, as part of a FREE TRADE GROUP of countries, is a wonderful concept as a further progression from the ideals of a free trading block. It is now attached however to the new and alarming trend towards a federal Europe, with European laws and government that no-one controls. This is what frightens people, NOT the currency.
At the moment we have the best of both worlds. We can benefit from fewer foreign currency transactions abroad and keep strong our fourth largest economy. Why lose that? Surely we should trade with Europe, NAFTA and the Commonwealth three strands rather than putting all our eggs in the big euro basket?
How can this government ask us to decide on such a major issue at this time, when it does not have complete control over matters at home eg the NHS, transport and crime? To hand over the power of the Bank of England to an unelected group in Brussels is too ridiculous for words.
There is no way that a "one-size-fits-all" fiscal and economic regime would be good for Britain.
The reasons any given country has its own currency are quite powerful. They are the same as the reasons a country has its own language and government. To separate currency and isolate it without doing the same for language and government is foolhardy. We already have problems in this country with a single currency for the UK as various parts of the UK have differing costs of living and general wealth levels. This will be much worse across Europe with the euro. The question should really be: "How soon should we leave the Europe we joined?"
How much more money should we throw away by remaining in the European nightmare state? Let's not forget that once we ditch the pound things could get worse rapidly and we will have to sit and watch wondering whether it would have happened anyway and whether to ditch the euro and launch our own currency again. A single currency for Europe could very well cause a worsening in relationships between the countries of Europe, although people seem to assume it won't for some reason. I personally believe a single currency for Europe at this time, given the still strong national identities of the various European nations, will be a failure and will cause much economic and social hardship. We will still have exchange rate problems with the rest of the world and could find our position from that angle becoming increasingly difficult.
The weakness of the euro compared to sterling gives the British people a chance to enter and get a very good price for the pound. If they wait until the "criteria have been met" they will almost certainly not get such good value.
The sooner we regain the authority of OUR elected parliament instead of Brussels the better things will be. We have no need of closer ties with Europe as we can still be trading partners without being consumed by the EU. We trade with the world without being governed by other countries: what's different with Europe?
No to the euro. Even if the government is no longer setting interest rates itself (and who would trust this lot with anything to do with money?), at least Eddie George knows why he is setting them. Better a British financial bureaucrat in London than a nonentity in Brussels.
I'm strongly against joining the single European currency. The pound is a strong part of our culture, and who really wants Brussels to be in full control our economy? NOT ME! "Sound as a euro" does not have quite the same ring to it as "sound as a pound".
The present government is incapable of speaking the truth about anything, the last Conservative government likewise. Charles Kennedy is a joke inflicted upon us. Let the people decide. There has to be a 75% majority either way, without propaganda being spread. Let us have the truth. None of the other countries has been in long enough to say if they have any regrets or not.
This is such a huge decision for this country to make and it is patronising in the extreme for the government to think that letting us play with a few euros on our summer holiday will reassure our hearts and minds that this is the way forward.
I travel to Holland and other countries and I think the euro is convenient and easy to use. It also gives a feeling of countries being united but of course countries still retain their own individuality. I see no reason why we shouldn't go for it - I no longer feel precious about the pound. I feel it is the way forward, embracing change and progress.
I do not want the economic policy for my country set by a group of non-elected persons from other countries. Is it true that should this country join the euro, all pension fund assets would be required to be sent to a communal pot in Brussels to fund all pensions throughout the Common Market?
It is in Britain's interests to join the euro, otherwise companies will start moving their offices to Europe, as a result of which Britain will suffer seriously in terms of employment and investments. Ideally, Britain should join the euro within the next two years.
I think Britain should join the euro. It would make traveltravel easier and would generally improve our economy. Worries about sovereignty appear to me to be little more than scare-mongering.
I think that if we do not join we will have serious problems for business in future years. Working abroad gives people totally different attitudes. I think it is a great thing to be a part of as it should give us more stability. Also I think the British views will change as soon as many holiday-makers get a chance to use it. Once you get used to it, it becomes very simple, especially if you are hopping to more than one country at a time.
I'm 16 years old and have always been interested in the idea of the Euro. It is one of the things that gets to me most now that Britain seems to think it is any different from any other European country. We have a Queen: but so do the Netherlands, and they have joined. We also have a failed health service and rail system. Now is the time to join - we have very little to loose.
We are British - NOT European! The pound is a strong currency of the world and is British. Let's keep it that way.
We shouldn't join, at least not yet. It really could fail and we need to sit on the fence and see.
Of course we should join the euro. If we don't, we will miss out on so much opportunity and trade with Europe.
Even if we arrive screaming and kicking, like we always do, we will join the Euro. We'll then look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.
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