Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 19:30 GMT
What do you think of the euro?
The euro has arrived, with the first notes and coins going into circulation on 1 January after 10 years of preparation.
The new currency will within two months become the sole legal tender for 300m people living in a region stretching from Finland to Greece.
European monetary union, which has created the largest currency zone in Europe since Roman times, has been described as the most ambitious economic project ever.
But now that the euro is here, what do you think of it? If you live in the eurozone, will you miss your old national currency? And how do you think it will affect your country's economy?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Some folk who want to join the euro just because they like the new coins!!
I can't believe the comments some of the above have made as justification for joining the euro!!
There's the "everybody's doing it so why don't we" mentality and some folk who want to join the euro just because they like the new coins!!
Will some non-politically orientated organisation PLEASE produce a hard facts document about the political and economical costs and benefits of joining the euro, that's all I'm asking for!!!
It's only a medium of exchange - so long as I can buy as much with my wage as I could before, does it make any difference?
I don't think that it is accurate for pro-euro Europeans to keep comparing themselves to the United States of America. Oh sure, California and South Carolina have different state economies and state laws but ultimately, ALL FIFTY states adhere to the federal economy and federal law and they have priority (our civil war was about state rights vs. the Fed and guess who won...). C,mon do you guys think that the Great Depression just affected Oklahoma? No - our entire country went down the tubes... I really can't say what is right for Europe but don't delude yourselves and think that a common currency/economy won't tie you all together because, for better or worse, it will.
It was great to be able to buy coffee and petrol in all those places on my journey without having to change money
I have just returned from two weeks in Germany and yesterday drove through Belgium and France to get to the ferry. It was great to be able to buy coffee and petrol in all those places on my journey without having to change money. As far as I could see the only problems were with the local public transport in Bonn where all the ticket machines were out of order (probably still had DM in them) - no matter, everybody just rode the tube for free for a couple of days.
What's wrong with the pound? It's an old established currency, it works, it's respected throughout the world and best of all it's British. If Comrade Blair wants a euro rouble in his pocket why doesn't he go and live in Euroland with the other commissars?
I think that the euro will greatly change the twelve countries that are in it. Let the old currencies go to rest and let the euro to grow as a strong currency.
Because the euro seems to be convenient and successful does not mean that it will be successful in the longer term.
Britain should wait at least 5 years before making a decision, thus giving adequate time to see how the currency copes with widely differing economic conditions in the participating countries.
The worries that we have about loss of sovereignty are very important and embracing the euro will certainly mean a loss will be real. Caution is my watchword.
Caution is my watchword
R. M. Hancock,
R. M. Hancock,
Just had some of the notes passed around the office. You would have thought that with all the hype surrounding the launch of the new currency they would have put a bit more thought into the design! Talk about bland..........
Have just returned from a trip to Andorra and France (with Irish friends). It was heartening to witness the enthusiasm for the euro, especially when compared against the isolationist attitude of the UK. The euro is a really important step in the history of Europe, one where we have the opportunity to join together in one community. Never again will Europe be at the mercy of the extremes of nationalism or socialism. Wake up guys, we are in danger of being be left behind, and if we do, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.
I am a Brit who recently moved to Austria. I earn here exactly what I did in the UK but manage to save 3 times as much here as I ever could before. That gut feeling you sometimes have in the UK that you are being exploited - well you are! Prices are way out of whack and switching to the euro would maybe open your eyes...
The euro is another step towards a federal state. In five to ten years time the people of all euro countries will rue the day they allowed the politicians to manipulate them into a federation. The UK needs to lead by example and distance ourselves away from the cosy little club.
The UK needs to lead by example
I believe it is all about people's fear of the unknown.
Another 3 or 4 months and the euro will be part of our lives and our currents worries will look largely exaggerated.
Someone asked where the idea for a United States of Europe came from. It came from a certain Winston Churchill. What is lacking in the UK today is a big enough generation who remembers what happens when a closely knit group of countries distrust and compete against each other rather than promoting mutual trust, respect and cooperation. With many UK retailers as well as all towns along the Irish border already accepting the euro, it is my hope that it will become a de-facto currency widely used in the UK and will help to break down this immature 'Little Englander' mentality.
I'm one of the people withdrawing Euros 5 minutes after midnight. I just couldn't wait to get my hands on them. I've encountered no problems so far. Of course there are a few glitches, of course everyone needs to get used to the new coins, but overall, everything seems to be going just fine.
I'm surprised to read that people think we're giving up our own identity, that we're chained. I think sharing the same currency shows that we have a high respect for other nationalities, that we trust them. We're all celebrating together, I truly feel part of something important. The world is getting smaller, this is a logical step.
Sharing the same currency shows that we have a high respect for other nationalities
Having just returned from two weeks in France I can honestly say that British resistance to the Euro is indicative of a wider malaise affecting this country. We whine and moan about the continent and about accepting the Euro, yet we lap up continental foods, sports, sun and culture like thirsty nomads; instead of being a strong leader in Euro we are dogmatic and belligerent, unwilling to adapt because of a perceived superiority (the true reason for our resistance.), as well as still fighting WWII. My grandfather a 78 year old veteran of the campaign has no problems with concepts surrounding the Euro, neither did Winston Churchill (1946). As a Welshman I find it laughable that people think that I would be willing to sacrifice my culture and heritage.
United Kingdom, EU
I really hope that the people of Great Britain realise, when voting for the Euro, that if their vote is yes our economy will be run by a country which our brave men and women fought against for freedom. There would not be any freedom once we joined the Euro - financially or otherwise. We need to keep our identity as far as running our economy is concerned and we also need to keep The Bank of England to enable us to stabilise our interest rates which would go crazy once we joined this ludicrous Euro which is not worth the paper it is printed on.
There would not be any freedom once we joined the Euro
Jenny Monaghan, Great Britain
If it is good for jobs, the economy, reduces costs for businesses then why not join?
A vote for full integration with Europe would mean surrendering control of our own economic future, and the ability to affect Britainżs financial interests for good - there is no going back. To any of those to seem desperate to do this, it might help them to imagine what their lives would be like if they had to ask permission from me before they could buy a house, a car, do the weekly shop- or any of the decisions they now take automatically and freely without someone else controlling what they do. Now it may be that I will allow you what you want some of the time, but not all of the time and when the day comes that you really need to respond quickly and appropriate to your own circumstances, and I say no - you will wish for control of your finances again - as you enjoyed before. But there is no going back - once in, we're in for good. Would you join a club you could never leave?
Ever since Sterling was dumped out of the ERM in 1992 the UK has faired better economically , relatively, than the majority of the Euro 12 states. In 1992 the UK had the 4th largest economy in the EU and now it has the 2nd. The UK standard of living may still lag in some areas in comparison to some of the richer EU states but it is catching up.....fast. My belief is that being out of the ERM before 1999 and the Euro since has aided this turnaround not hindered it.
As a student who has been living in
the French alps for the last 4 months,
I have had what I would call an extremely
interesting opportunity to witness the
launch of the euro. Since it has been
implemented the only physical difficulty that
I have seen, is the fact that during the first
three days I have only been able to draw out
50 euro notes (equiv. £30). The French authorities
obviously underestimated the demand for smaller
notes. Apart from this slight mishap the general attitude
of the French is either indifferent or positive.
I am sure that this currency can only do well as it helps break
'imaginary' and physical barriers between countries. Despite the fact
that the notes are the most uninteresting tender I have
ever seen, I don't see why the Brits need to cling on to the pound.
How can it possibly benefit us? The idea of a currency is to facilitate trade between people. How can we do this when no one in our country has any idea
how much a euro is worth, never mind its future implications.
Come on Britain, you can be proud of our country in other ways than keeping a pattern
on a piece of paper.
This currency helps break
'imaginary' and physical barriers between countries
F Parry, UK / France
England via France
There is now clear evidence (it ever it was needed) from the UK Treasury that any move toward adopting the euro will be politically motivated and will have little if anything to do with the wider economic interests of this country. The political choice is therefore simple. Do we want to belong to a centrally driven Federation of Europe established as a result of French anxiety to control German aggression or remain an independent outward trading nation? Our fathers and forefathers fought for the latter and so should we. The UK contributes far too much of its wealth to Europe with very little gain, our fishing has been wrecked by bending the knee to Brussels and the individual rights we have enjoyed for hundreds of years are attacked by dikdats from a Commission which has had far too much of the hint of corruption about it in the recent past. It is very easy for mainland Europeans to give in to the political imperative of a conforming United States of Europe (and just think where that idea came from!). However in the UK we have a long tradition of opposing centrist political pressures - whether coming from within the UK or outside it - and should continue do so. If that means leaving the European Union so much the better. Politically and economically we would be far better off!
I am a Brit living in Holland since the mid 70s and Iżve seen how the EU has come together over the years and I welcome the Euro. I travel every week throughout Europe and its long time that "we" all had the same money, just wait the rest will be joining up soon!!!
Great Britain is an island but her spirit, her language and influence is spread all over the world, so she can't stay out this evolution. The new currency is a great idea to merge not the people but to share the culture and the good results of the European economy. I'm French but I'm in love with Great Britain and I don't understand why this great Nation would miss this opportunity.
I don't understand why this great Nation would miss this opportunity.
The (dis) United States of America has a single currency yet States retain their own individual laws - Europe can do the same without forfeiting each county's identity.
Go for it UK! Remember how much initial unwarranted resistance you have to any changes in your world - such as going decimal in 1971.
To feel what it's like to be European it helps to live over here for a while (in my case 25 years). The little strip of water which has so long protected GB from the enemy also insulates it from Europe. You can't blame people in Britain for their opinions about Europe when they are systematically misinformed by the press and politicians and have no easy means to check for themselves. The EU and the Euro are part of a really great experiment. Nobody can predict what the future will bring, but nobody should use fear and ignorance for not joining in.
Mike the Brit,
What benefits to Britain from a single currency? Today BMW announced a standardisation of prices on new models across the euro countries. Presumably those countries outside the euro zone will be paying more for the privilege of owning a BMW. Daily Mail readers with aspirations to a 'Series 7' take note.
Congratulations to the brave 12 countries that joined the euro. Those who utter that they will wait and see how the euro does, are cowards. If everybody were like them, nothing would happen.
You have to have a vision, you have to take action to benefit.
Don't sit on your butts waiting for others to do the risky jobs for you.
I feel ashamed that my country hasn't joined yet, but the sentiment here has now changed, a majority of the population wants to join now. Typical cowardness if you ask me.
Best of luck to Europe.
You have to have a vision
Hans Klausen, Denmark
Hans Klausen, Denmark
Contributors to the euro debate keep repeating the argument that the UK has benefited from being in the EU and that joining in with the euro is just an extension of this. Can these people please itemise the benefits the UK has received from its time in the EU, with real facts and figures? This itemising should reconcile these so-called benefits with the net amount paid into the EU by the UK.
And as for the argument that the UK needs to have the euro to play a full part in the EU, prior to the euro the UK has been the second largest contributor of funds to the EU for years, yet all serious decisions are still made by France and Germany. Yes, we maybe hold things up for a while, but we always eventually cave in and do what the others want despite the fact that we are paying for it and should therefore have a much greater say than those who aren't.
Mike, USA (but I'm British)
I think the UK missed the boat altogether. There is a price tag the UK will have to face if its people decide to join the euro. You can't snap your fingers and say: "lets take a free ride here".
It took 12 nations three years, and shiploads of money, to make the euro happen. Joining afterwards will be even more expensive because you don't have 11 other nations doing the same thing.
So I don't think the UK, Denmark or Sweden have the political power to make its people cough up those multiple billions in cash.
And after all. Who wants to be the 13th star on the coin. Not a very lucky number.
Could someone please define "failure". I am desperate to know how a currency as large and as influential as the euro could "fail". Does failure mean dropping in value, just as the dollar and the pound do from time to time? I think the average man on the street in the UK has no idea about the euro and this is dangerous.
As Brit living in Spain, I have noticed the excitement and overwhelming acceptance of the euro. How can the UK be a driving force within the Union if it is choosing which parts of Membership it likes and it doesn't? Ken Livingston made a very valid point when he said that the Union just might turn around and say sorry guys, you had your chance but you blew it, then where would you be? Bring on the USE!
Griffo, Barcelona, Spain
It is very convenient for the pro euro lobby to dismiss any objection as xenophobic, but it ignores the very real concerns that many people have with this project. If businesses cannot compete with companies in the eurozone now, why on earth should we fix our disadvantage as soon as possible by joining?
But the thing I find most concerning of all is the unshakable belief europhiles seem to hold in the political system of the EU. I studied European politics for three years and the system seems to me to be far from ideal (and highly undemocratic). The elected part of the EU is the parliament which is roughly analogous to our House of Lords. The commission, who run the show, have been rearranged several times in the past few years due to corruption scandals. The EU can work and will work, but it is in everyone's interests to ensure that it is working properly before we plough on chasing an ideal with little regard to the system we are creating.
This idea that the UK is so much better off than our European counterparts is rubbish! Just look at the list:
Health Service - better in Germany
Cars - cheaper in Holland
Wine/Beer/Spirits - cheaper in France
Property - cheaper in France
Holidays/Travel - cheaper in all of Europe(no exchange rate rip-offs!)
Working week - shorter in Europe...we work the longest hours and DON'T earn the largest salaries.
Bank/Public holidays- UK have the least amount (8), Spain/Portugal have 14! a year
I could go on and on - and all of these countries have adopted the "dreaded" euro!
Wake up UK, time to ditch the Empire mentality and face up to reality.
We are NOT the 52nd state of the U.S. We belong in Europe. Let's embrace the Europeans' standard of living and their currency.
It's time we realised that we don't have the best standard of living in Europe (far from it) so let's get in there and
be part of Europe.
Gerry, UK Midlands
I never cease to be amazed at the pro euro propaganda. Whilst most people in the UK appear to be against the euro, most would also dump Sterling if they genuinely believed that it was in the nation's long term interests. What are the facts? - why is the euro good for the UK economy?. I don't want meaningless political statements, exactly what are the benefits of not being able to determine your own interest rates etc. If there were any defined benefits from which people could make a judgement then I am sure most would be in favour of the euro, just following the hype is no way to make a decision.
Why can't we wait and see, I can't believe that the rest of the EU would have any problems letting us adopt the euro in future. I am also under the impression that most of our business is done with countries outside the EU, so maybe we should consider other avenues of opportunity rather just jump on the nearest band wagon. People should have the right to make decisions based on fact not grand political statements.
It's the fourth day of the New Year now and I'm totally converted: I don't have any guilders any more, do all my payments in euros (without any problems in big and small shops) and I do like the euro as a concept as well. After all those years I won't be stuck with left over coins after returning from a trip to another European country. Maybe I'll even plan more trips abroad, because again one barrier has gone down. But if I'll plan to go to the UK? I love the country, but the hassle with the money - maybe not until you adopt the euro too.
As soon as the banks opened I exchanged my old pounds for the new Euro. For a test I have been trying to spend it here in England. So far I have bought some headphones from a Virgin Megastore for just under £20! However, most shopkeepers still refuse them. Come on shopkeepers, back the Euro!
England, United States of Europe
Yes, in Holland, we lost the guilder, which has been around for almost 500 years. Still, it's exciting to suddenly have European integration become so palpable. It's much more than just a financial change. The euro is truly a
symbol of hope and progress. My parents consciously lived through WWII.
Now, the warring countries of then are the partners of today. In times of
wars on drugs, terrorism, and whatever, it's good to see there are other, more positive global forces at work as well.
It's exciting to suddenly have European integration become so palpable.
Aldo de Moor, Netherlands
Aldo de Moor,
Britain should withdraw from the European Union. Britain is a nation with global influence and trade links. Switzerland has not only its own rock solid currency but is not a member of the European Union. Switzerland trades with the European Union and this goes to show that you do not have to be in the European Union. To the British people I would say follow the Swiss example.
If England chooses the Euro then we will be unable to control our own economy. Its already hard enough to strike a balance between the economies in the North and the Southeast of England, what will happen when you bring countries like Greece, Germany or Ireland into the equation? This debate is about the freedom to control our own financial destiny and has nothing to do with a picture of the Queen.
Those who continue to cherish their obsessions with territorial boundaries are misguided. The often artificial and arbitrary national delineators, including those imposed by national currencies, are becoming increasingly inconvenient. Away with these heirlooms! Let us concentrate on what cultural differences really differentiate peoples.
I can not see how it could possibly be in Britain's interest to stay out of the Euro. Europe is by far our biggest trading partner, so there would be an immediate cost saving for businesses if they were transacting in 1 currency and didn't have to hedge against currency movements. Secondly, there are already signs that non-European firms will stop investing in the UK if it continues to be outside the Euro. They realise that the Euro will become the strongest currency in the world along with the Dollar, and so why would they want pounds? The sovereignty arguments propagated by the Conservatives are just plain paranoia, and anyone who thinks we should keep the pound for nationalistic reasons doesn't deserve a vote in any referendum. I think that the government shouldn't even have a referendum. We elected them to govern the country and make important decisions like this, not to defer to the people.
People fear change and anything that suggests having to change. Those in the UK using the arguments of Economics and Sovereignty seem to be using this as a convenient cover from saying 'I don't like change and I want things to stay the same'. The reality is that the vast majority of the public including myself know very little about global economics and trade. How can we possibly speculate about the impact of the Euro and really know what we're talking about? The things that matter are our everyday costs of living and how we go about paying for the things we surround ourselves with; our houses, food, clothing and leisure. I think the Euro will make pricing more transparent and that should mean my cost of living will go down. These are the things which matter to people, not some preconceived notion of national identity and control which we never really had in the first place....
The reality is that the vast majority of the public including myself know very little about global economics
I'm frankly amazed by how many people are obviously in the wrong business! Those who hail the success of the Euro ought to consider fortune-telling for a living, as they must be able to see into the future. In reality we won't actually be able to assess the success of the Euro for three, five or ten years, when it's been through good times and bad. A pragmatic approach is better than blindly following the politicians' path.
The rise of the euro in the United Kingdom is now surely set in stone. What big-city retailer it its right mind is going to refuse to accept the currency if it swings a sale? That said, there is little point in joining officially until we can see how the eurozone does. Presuming everything is okay though, we will have no choice but to join eventually. Let's wish it well and get on with it.
With hundreds of years of history behind them, I'll keep my pounds, shillings and pence, thank you. They're in a tin in the loft.
To every Euro sceptic Tory: Please note that nobody in Europe really wants your currency or your constant vetoes of everything. Here in Ireland we embrace new ideas instead of living in the past with ridiculous delusions of grandeur. By the way the US is a mixture of rich states like California and poorer southern states, but nobody suggests the dollar is weaker as a result.
I live near the Belgian city of Charleroi and I want to give a more balanced picture of the introduction of the euro as it is not going as smoothly as some are suggesting. This morning I could not get petrol at my local petrol station as the machines were not accepting any credit or fuel cards. I could buy petrol with Belgian francs or euros but not my fuel card. The owner stated it would be many days or even weeks before the machines would be converted to euros. My local bank cash machines were either out of order or issuing Belgian francs only.
Many people are staying away from the shops and the chaos in the hope that it will improve with time
Having withdrawn Belgian francs, I tried to buy an electrical item in a department store. They refused point blank to accept Belgian francs even though it is still legal tender. Other stores have few tills converted and they seem to be operating parallel tills which were causing queues to form even though the town was almost deserted. I did not find a single outlet that was giving euros in change to a Belgian franc transaction. In other words, you can pay in the old currency but your change will be in the same currency unit. In fact many people are staying away from the shops and the chaos in the hope that it will improve with time.
When I left Greece this morning I had my first experience - or lack of experience - with the euro. At Athens airport two change outlets refused to exchange my Greek drachma into euros as I was heading back to Frankfurt. The Bureau de Change said I "was not allowed" to change the drachmas into euros but that I could change travellers checks or American dollars into euros. She said I had to go to the bank to switch the drachma. Of course the bank didn't open until after my flight left. The American Express counter personnel said they would lose their jobs if they changed my drachmas into euros.
The counter personnel said they would lose their jobs if they changed my drachmas into euros
The end result for me is that I now have drachma that I can't use and need to change before February 28th. Now that I am out of the country the coins won't be converted. The lines at the airport were way too long this morning, therefore I have Greek drachma that will have to be changed in Germany. Thank goodness that I was knowledgeable about the change and my "tied up" money is not a large amount. But what about others out there - what about the tourists? Not everybody travels when the banks are open, especially on Greek banking hours. Maybe that is something to look into. I certainly would like to know if it is indeed illegal to change drachmas into euros while in the country.
Come on UK. Think bigger that Europe. You already belong to a 54 nation global trading community representing around 25 percent of the total global population - the Commonwealth. This does not need a common currency or a centrist political framework to get along. Remain independent and keep the pound if you want to retain any true influence in the Commonwealth, in Australasia, Asia, the Americas and beyond.
There seems to be a bizarre attitude that sceptics like myself here in the UK are worried only about having the Queen on the notes or other such irrelevancies. My worries are about a "one size fits all" interest rate - and the centralisation of taxation, a "fed" style budget and massive increases in political union the euro will demand to make it workable in the longer term. Currency unions have a history of failing, unless they become part of something like the USA. If that is the intention, let's have some honesty from our leaders!
Having read all these comments from people, it seems to me that the problem is not the "euro" itself but the lack of additional information about its implementation - like tax rates or lack of control over our national financial budget. The UK media is not helping by printing biased reports. When (and where) will we be able to find unbiased reports which will enable us, as citizens of the UK, to make informed choices when required to respond to a referendum? I don't want to be part of the "Greater Europe" state, but I still want to make informed decisions when I need to.
The coinage is not the problem, it's what comes with the package.
The coinage is not the problem, it's what comes with the package
Annette Lovett, UK/UAE
Annette Lovett, UK/UAE
It is time this country made its mind up and decided what it wants to be; a fully fledged member of Europe and all that goes with it including the euro, the next State of America and all the problems that go with that or an independent nation on its own? I for one have no problems accepting the euro as a unit of currency, after all that's all it is. Quite frankly who really takes any notice of what is or is not on our current coins and notes and just what part does money really play in our heritage? I for one will be quite happy using euros if it does away with all the palaver of changing your money every time you want to go from one country to the next in Europe and stay more than a few hours.
To argue that Britain adopting the Euro would mean relinquishing all economic control of Britain to "unelected German financiers" is simply ridiculous, not to mention a tad
xenophobic. I certainly didn't elect Eddie George or the board of the independent Bank of England either, and probably a good thing too since I prefer cool headed experts making monetary policy than sticky fingered politicians.
The fact is that in a globalised economy
Britain has already lost control, with our currency being held prisoner to the capital movements of speculators, international financiers and multinational companies.
The Eurosceptics in the UK do us a great disservice by using irrational and nonsensical arguments. There is a real need for an honest rational
debate in Britain.
As a Frenchman, I do respect Britain decision for not wanting to join the euro, after all you already have a "small Europe" called the UK I believe but why did you join the EU in the first place? Britain is an economically powerful country indeed but do not think you'd be that much missed by the other EU members, although we all would be better off with the UK being more involved in Europe. So stop dragging your feet, this is unbearable, Please make a stance! in or out ?
Though the UK might feel left out, you should commend yourselves for not being so rash to jump aboard without looking. The euro might look all fine and dandy on paper, but its successful circulation in the real world has yet to be seen. Last time I checked the euro was trading at $0.88 to the dollar (American), which is good, so far. Where in comparison the British pound is a time tested stable currency. If the euro springs a leak and sinks, you'll be thanking yourself for breaking ranks. And if the euro does hold up across the uncharted waters of business, then by all means join. But, as said previously, I think the EU promotes conformism, and will diminish the great storied cultures that made a Europe.
I cannot believe that there are still twisted europhobes predicting that the euro will fail. The euro is as strong as the strongest old currency in Europe and will never fail: do the eurosceptics really believe that they can hold back progress. The sooner the Queen's head is on the euro coins the better - until then we are loosing out in the UK.
The sooner the Queen's head is on the euro coins the better
I am UK-born but now live in Spain. I think the euro is a great thing. Nice to know that when I want to visit my friends in France, Germany, Ireland or anywhere else I don't have to worry about changing money or whether I am getting the best out of the currency. It will also make us more of a union among the countries in Europe. I think the way Britain has stayed out of the picture is pathetic.
Donna Michelle Walsh,
Living here in Sweden, I can tell you one I feel so left out. The euro
has to be the single greatest achievement that our continent has produced in the last 50 years and yet Sweden is too cowardly a
country to participate from the start. Oh, and about the UK, I feel that it should leave the EU altogether, not only because of its constant blocking of a greater unified Europe, but also because it's now clear that the British people are emotionally suffering when their
sovereignty is taken away. Let them keep their dream (or fantasy) of still being a worldly empire.
I feel so left out
I wish the euro well and congratulate the countries that have joined on their persistence in this project and their courage. It takes a lot of bottle to do what they are doing and a lot of faith in your friends. You have to believe you can work together to solve the unknown future issues which are bound to arise. Well done!
As someone who has always described himself as European rather than British, I am glad that the change has finally been made. Colleagues at work have been talking about virtually nothing else all day, and lunch at an Italian Pizza restaurant was amusing as we tried sorting out the prices in euro, paying in Deutschmarks and receiving change in euro. Still today is really the first big challenge for the new currency and the feeling here in Germany is that everything has gone smoothly and that in a few weeks we'll all be asking what all the fuss was about. I feel that the vast majority of UK people have little understanding of how the new currency will affect European members as a whole, and are largely guided by misrepresented statements from the Eurosceptics. Wake up UK! I will not be coming back to the UK while I still have to pay currency exchange fees and I cannot easily see whether I'm paying more for my goods than the rest of Europe. How will the changing of the coins and notes you buy your shopping with affect or belittle you as a country or a nation? Get real!
I have had a good laugh reading the silly arguments for the pound. As a Continental European citizen I am very pleased not to have to carry three different wallets anymore. It makes it easy for me to compare prices. If Great Britain does not want to join the euro, I do not care but then it should realise it is not that great anymore. If Britain does not want my money I'll spend it somewhere else.
Many of the anti-euro sentiments are emotionally based. I am puzzled by the idea that having the pound keeps us free. After all the pound, franc, deutchmark and euro are just tokens. The UK can benefit by staying out in the short term, but ultimately it must become part of Europe or gradually become a backwater in the long term.
Everybody's partying around Europe now that the new coins are finally born. But I can't party with all the other Europeans as I feel so sad that our old historical currencies are dying in the name of economics and this overriding desire to emulate the dollar.
Our old historical currencies are dying in the name of this desire to emulate the dollar
Bravo to the UK, Denmark and Sweden for staying out of the euro. Whatever happened to the saying "look before you leap"? Let's wait and seen what happens with this new currency.
When will people realise that money is just a means of purchasing goods. What does it matter if the money is in pounds, euros, beads or cauliflowers? All that matters is what the money will buy. It should be up to the expert economists to decide on the best form money should take, not the ignorant masses in the streets.
Those who are clamouring for Britain to enter the euro should think quite seriously about the economic consequences and not just the pocket change they might save every time they go on holiday. They might also want to think about the fact that only 12 countries (out of approximately 190) are members and two - Portugal and Greece - are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Balancing monetary policy without centralised fiscal policy is very difficult and tax harmonisation is inevitable. Britain would almost certainly see a rise in direct taxation. It is also extremely unlikely that price transparency will drive down the cost of consumer goods. There is price transparency in the UK but one does not drive from London to Newcastle to save 40p on a bottle of shampoo. Many countries operate extremely successfully on a dual currency system and this might be appropriate for the UK. Retailers can then partially hedge their foreign currency exposure and the bargain hunters save on foreign exchange commissions.
I think the Euro is great gamble, and hope it works out. What people don't seem to grasp, is the sheer size and impact of it all. This isn't just a new coin, yet another currency to trade in the city; this is the new currency of the EU. If this all goes wrong, if the Euro loses it's value, or people don't trust it, what then? There's no going back to the old currencies anymore; this is it. So, it HAS to work, or the whole European economy, and with it, the world economy - and that includes the UK - could crash-dive into recession. After all, without a stable and trusted currency, there is no economy.
Personally, I'm rather optimistic. A few months from now, when the confusion will be over, we'll get on with our lives like always.
Can any of these rabid eurosceptics please explain how years of having our own control over the pound has resulted in the pound continually losing value against the dollar? If this is self-determination, perhaps its time to try "subjugation"?
So far no-one has commented on the actual facts of what joining the euro means. Firstly, the UK would not be suitable for the lower interest rates that come with the euro, and just as the Bank of England has recently said, we need to control our own interest rates to control our own economy. Personally, I think the UK should not join for at least 5 years, not until our economy becomes more similar to Europe's rather than America's.
David Jones, UK
The real patriots are those of us that recognise that our culture and country is strong enough to survive and flourish inside a monetary union. Not those who believe merely changing our currency is enough to destroy us! This country is not as feeble as the Tories would have you believe. Congratulations Europe - the UK will be joining you soon!
Andy, London, UK
The conversion to the Euro is ill-conceived and will become a source of conflict. A right, and responsibilty of a soveriegn nation is to mint its own currency. The old currencies will dissapear into an underground economy as individual nations seek to manipulate the money supply to their best possible advantage. I very heartily commend the British for not adopting the Euro!!
Andrew E. Mitchell, AIA,
I'll not miss our old deutschmarks! Europe is going to have
better times with the euro. Sadly Britain hasn't joined the euro
zone alredy. I really hope, you
decide to join soon!
I think the single currency is a good thing. Everyone is talking about a european superstate as a bad thing. It's like Wales and Scotland in the UK. What's wrong with interdependancy? it means if one country goes into reccession it will be supported by every one else in the currency. I hope we join as soon as the exchange rate is good for us.
Sandeep Mavadia, UK
I'm very pro Euro and was intending to get the first euro notes from the cash dispenser after midnight tonight - well guess what? The good old French bank is still only dispensing Francs. Vive le France!
Tony Alcock, France
I love the new coins, everyone here is excited!! Now we are united with our european friends.
This debate is now closed.
| VOTE RESULTS
||Will the euro be good for Europe?
19315 Votes Cast
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