|low graphics version | feedback | help|
|You are in: Talking Point|
Sunday, 1 October, 2000, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Were the Danes right to reject the euro?
The outcome of the referendum makes it less likely that Sweden or Britain will hold similar polls in the near future. And it throws into doubt the wider goals of European integration.
Supporters of the euro still maintain the currency can rival the mighty dollar and yen on the world stage. Detractors say the relentless devaluation of the euro shows that financial markets have no confidence in the fledgling currency.
Have the Danes made the right decision? And where does this vote leave the wider European project?
We'll be discussing the outcome of the euro referendum on Talking Point ON AIR, the live phone-in programme of BBC World Service radio, TODAY at 1400 GMT. Email us or call us NOW on 44 20 7379 7444 if you want to take part.
David , Australia
From all the articles I read, it seems as if the UK is beginning to feel the negative impact of not joining the euro. Businesses are moving out of the UK, and more companies are deciding not to start up new business due to the strong pound. This equals out to less profit due to export taxes. The IMF, Federal Reserve Bank (US), etc has had to come to the rescue to bail out the failing euro so that the world economy doesn't suffer. Join the euro, it doesn't mean you have to lose your national identity.
What are we waiting for? Let's go euro!
The euro is the biggest economic turkey I have ever encountered. Born of political will rather than economic benefit it has become the laughing stock of the currency markets. I'd rather bet my wealth on a duck in a cock-fight than this disaster of a currency.
There are no compelling economic reasons for the UK to join the euro at this time. However, although I find a united political Europe that included the UK total anathema, a single currency could be good for trade. We should be careful not to throw the (euro) baby out with the (EU) bath water on this one!
The euro like the EU has been forced on us by stealth and a growing army of unelected officials that are imposing undemocratic processes on the people of Britain.
Look at the success of NAFTA with free economies and individual currencies as an example of what Britain originally signed up to with the EEC.
I say no to the euro and yes to democracy.
Until the EEC can agree on identical customs as far social benefits, wages and universal pricing, it will be a waste of time implementing a single currency for all the countries concerned. Each of the EEC countries are striving to maintain their own cultures and because of that no-one is able to reach an agreement, causing in some cases isolation.
Well done the Danes. They have spoken for the vast bulk of the citizens of Europe who do not wish to be dragged along by their politicians dreams of self aggrandisement and bigger jobs.
This will in fact result in Denmark having less say in Union matters (affecting Denmark) than if they had been inside the Eurozone. Evidence to this effect includes the very first action of the Danish Central Bank, which had to raise interest rates by 50 basis points to prevent speculative attack against the Danish Krone. All in all, a decision that many Danes will regret in the long term!
Gordon Christian, United Kingdom
Denmark did the right thing by voting no. They have avoided becoming dominated by Germans whose ambition is to dominate Europe.
Well done Denmark! Its citizens have said NO in a democratic election to a contrived, unaccountable and unelected European superstate whose member countries cannot even play a football match between each other without violence. Can someone please explain to me why countries have to shed their independence and individuality just to trade their goods and services in the international market. Japan and USA certainly don't and won't.
A sad day for Europe. The people, while we must respect their judgement, have consigned Denmark to the political and economic wilderness. The UK, with the Tories knee-jerk opposition, and our vehemently anti-Euro newspapers, now seems more likely to join them. Let us hope that the Swedish have more sense.
What is the need for having a common currency when it has been proved that it is not successful? Let the nations come together and take a vow not to speak of 'East' and 'West' differences. Let Germany learn how to treat foreigners. Let the European countries discuss how to bring back peace in Northern Ireland.
Albert P'Rayan, Rwanda
Nikolaj Svensson, Århus, Denmark
Thanks Denmark for giving EU-federalists a real blow. Your vote will help us defend our national sovereignty and strengthen the demand for a new referendum about Swedish membership in the EU. Thanks, once again!
The people have spoken and should be respected. I believe however, they are wrong and that in the long term, distancing macro-economic decisions from spineless politicians is a good thing. The British on the other hand will never trust those foreigners on the "continent" and agree to join. Which is probably a good thing for all parties concerned.
If we cede control of monetary and fiscal policy, we have no control over our daily lives or our future. Interest rates and tax levels will be decided elsewhere for us. At that stage, it would be impossible to remain independent on other key policy issues. I am in favour of free trade, but I really cannot believe that we need, or this country wants, to take the process further by relinquishing our ability to govern ourselves. This is not a little Englander view; it is a pragmatic view of world politics.
The Danes have made their decision. The boundaries of Euroland have to be set somewhere, and it will always be a fine judgement for countries near the edge, whether they should be in or out.
For the British people, the central issue remains unchanged. Do they want to be full members of the European club, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails? Or does Britain prefer the position of 'little Denmark', whose people appear to feel that, since their country is small, a looser association with their continental neighbours serves their interests better?
Well done the Danes. Not just for the decision, but for allowing their people the opportunity to decide their own fate. I am quite convinced if other countries now in the euro had been as democratic as the Danes there would be no euro. As far as the UK joining the euro is concerned I have no fears. Tony and Gordon, quite rightly, will not even try to join until we are aligned economically. As our economy has always been far more in tune with the US economy there is no imminent prospect of alignment with Europe. Tony has promised a referendum on the issue and, as long as he does not go back on his word, he will not call one unless he thinks he can win it, which will probably be never.
John , Luxembourg
Well, done Denmark! A vote for common sense. You decided that economically there was no case for you to join; you decided, as a nation state at ease with itself, there was no reason to join. As far as our currency is concerned, we too are reasonably secure. As far as being at ease with ourselves, following the petrol blockades I think we can say that we are getting there!
What a lot of melodrama appears here about "striking a blow for freedom", "losing national identity" and "giving up the Queen". I am an Englishman living in this supposed failing superstate. What I can say is this: This place is not failing, this place has not lost it's national identity. These people are proud of their country, proud of their queen and none of it has been compromised by the introduction of a currency. I have to question whether a country that feels they will lose identity by changing the name and appearance of their bank notes really has much national identity at all.
Jose Fernandez, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Blair must allow a free vote on this issue so we can avoid another DOME.
Perhaps the Danes were right for now but the time will come when Europe will become united. Then the borders will come down and we will be similar to the way America is today. One of the correspondents infers that we should become an American state! This is not what the British people want.
Great Denmark shows the world that we have a superior society, and don't need to be together with second rank countries like France. We are Danes and our ancestors are the Vikings.
A yes or no really isn't that important. The Danish currency follows the Euro with only a 2% bandwidth anyway. So the Danes are in it, like it or not....
Christopher Nash, Vig, Denmark
It has been a rude awakening for me today. Being Danish and once again experiencing that there is a limit to how much European co-operation we as a country will take part in makes me furious. The result of yesterday will most probably be exposed as a victory for the extreme right, personalised by Pia Kjærsgård whom the Danish press has already named the "No Queen". I am truly sorry Europe, apparently we are only causing problems. No doubt, something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
It's about time. Perhaps this will give the message to other governments that the people DO have an opinion, and might actually like to keep things the way they are.
C. Sakkas, Berlin, Germany
When will you biased people in the media get it - the Euro is a political project which will take power away from individual countries. Why don't you start portraying it as such instead of trying to cloud the issue by saying that it is all about economics. Who is paying you?
The outcome of the Danish referendum (rejecting the Euro) is not by nature a move to isolate Denmark from Europe. It should be viewed as a profound desire to keep major financial decisions within an elected parliament as opposed to a European central bank, and as such strengthens European democracy. Embarrassingly, the result demonstrates a stronger support for the Euro in Denmark than in Germany, where a referendum was not and will not be held.
Thank God for the Danes. Hopefully the euro will soon be scrapped, saving us the bother of turning it down. I was a Little Englander during the blitz when little Germans were trying to bomb us into submission with big bombs. Any talk then of joining them would have had the speaker shot for treason. Sixty years on, the EU has already inflicted serious damage on the UK, fisheries, CAP, over-regulation. Why throw good money after bad, let us keep the pound and give the corrupt, faceless officials in Brussels the two finger salute.
Thomas Kelly, Atlanta, USA
The Danes endured a storm of propaganda by
all social elite's and their own political leadership
trying to lure them further into being run by Frankfurt and
Brussels. Thankfully the Danish voters have clearer vision.
Also, notice the EU leadership's rhetoric in response to
the Danish vote, it's so condescending and arrogant, the
reality of being a small nation in the Union has been revealed
by the EU's vitriolic dismissals of the Danish position on this issue.
How admirable of the Danes to see through the false arguments told to them by all major parties in that country and vote to stay out of the Euro. This is the best result possible for a new stronger and more ACCOUNTABLE Europe in the future. Beware un-elected Eurocrats, your days are numbered.
Right or wrong is perhaps less important than the issue being put to a democratic vote.
The Danes do however seem to have realised that the issue is considerably more complicated than the single currency issue; considering also the economic and political union that inevitably follow membership of a single currency.
If the UK chooses to join the single currency system then that is of course democracy. However a wider debate should be entered into before we decide, instead of politicians and the media implying it is simply an issue of the type of money you use and threatening dire economic consequences if the vote is not yes.
The Euro serves to drag solid currencies such as the Pound Sterling and the D-Mark down to the level of the French Franc and the Drachma. To be sure, countries with weak currencies have an easier time exporting goods, but only at the price of impoverishing their citizens. The Danes made the right decision.
The most amazing thing of this whole affair is the fact the people got to provide an input! Mr. Rasmussen will not have a job for long as these decisions are normally not to be made by the commons. In the end, though, Denmark will indeed fall into line and have the euro shoved down the throat of the people without their consent in due course by other means.
Hopefully this has an effect on the UK vote, and encourages people to vote no. The euro is a disaster, as the money markets show. What daft clown thought of this currency?
The United States, often upheld as a role model for European integration, were cemented only after a bitter civil war that left 600 000 dead. We would do well to reflect on the bloody fate of the Confederate States as our masters attempt to look us irreversibly into a Europe which is increasingly hostile to our freedoms and way of life.
Jan Kieler, Tokyo, Japan
The Danes could see what UK politicians have been denying, i.e. that a union of independent countries does not survive in the long term.
The Soviet Union has disintegrated, Yugoslavia has gone back to separate Baltic states, most of the African states set up in colonial days have split on tribal lines, all with tremendous suffering for the peoples of those countries. Even the Roman Empire failed the test of time.
The European Union will ultimately go the same way.
I am happy for the result of this vote, because if it had been a Yes , it would be like if I had sold out my soul
The Danes have done
exactly the right
thing for themselves,
because, Denmark is
exactly the kind of
small country that
could expect to see
its interest ignored
when Euro interest
rates are set to suit
France and Germany.
Richard, Norwich, UK
The Danes have stuck a blow for freedom, and holed the Euro below the waterline.
This is a humiliation for the liberal (US meaning) elite that is trying to submerge the national identity of Denmark into an appalling, corrupt and useless international "superstate."
When the physical currencies are actually changed over in 2002, there will be no escape from the rotten euro for the hapless countries imprisoned within it. The UK should steer well clear of this "one interest rate fits all" euro disaster area.
Well what can I say? The Danish people have really come up trumps today, against the millions of Krona spent on E.U propaganda, the massive media bias and one sided opinions of the major political parties.
Having just celebrated the NO to the Euro, I can only say that I fully agree with Neil Breden from the UK,
If Britain joins the euro because economic conditions are right for it to do so, as the government would like, should it leave when the economic situation changes make it right to do that? Will Britain be able to?
Winston Coleman, Derby, UK
I've lived in Europe and in the USA. I've seen both sides to the coin. In the end, the UK will join NAFTA and go hand in hand the Americans. There is no other viable solution for the British public. Go on ask the man on the street which side would he rather be on given the choice..with America or Europe? Anyone dare ask that question.
Politicians can rant and rave all they want, but that's the only acceptable future for us regardless of any publicity.
The leaders of the "New World Order" will not make the same mistake again. Next time they will revert to their traditional methods of doing things by not allowing the citizenry to vote on their actions. If the nation states are to be eliminated and a European Union replacing it I wonder what will happen if a nation decides to secede. Will they be allowed to do this in peace or will they be subjected to the similar actions of Abraham Lincoln who "saved" the American Union at a cost over 600,000 lives?
From a strictly economic point of view-let me reiterate what many others have already said: How is it possible to maintain a single interest rate when the unemployment rates in the EU countries differ so greatly? Investment will drop in countries that need it most (Spain) and inflation will occur in strong Economies (Germany). I applaud Denmark's decision and Britain's scepticism, because the Euro has not shown one ounce of promise.
To me the biggest question is why is it only the Danes who have been able to vote on this important decision? The right to issue currency has always been one of the pillars of a nation's sovereignty -- along with other privileges such as the right to control borders, to make laws and to be responsible for its own defence. Why is it considered OK for a nation and a people to give these sovereign rights up to the EU without asking the people in a referendum?
Jose Fernandez, Netherlands
I think the UK and Ireland should leave
the EU and instead join the USA and Canada
in NAFTA. That way you have all the benefits
of free trade, trade with nations with far
more stable currency rates than in the Eurozone,
but none of the erosion of your sovereignty.
Besides, you have far more in common with Boston and
Toronto than you do with Frankfurt or Brussels anyhow.
Euro is one step out of hundreds comprising the ladder leading to the United States of Europe. For those who fear it: Do you fear using another coin?
I find it so very ironic that Britain
was condemned for not joining the
Euro, and now the Euro has crashed.
Here we see yet another example
of Britain's sensible and pragmatic
decisions. If only other European
Governments could have had the
foresight and sense that the British
All the countries of the world will someday be in the Euro. One world government, one world currency, one world religion. Watch it happen!
Not only should Britain not join the Euro, it should withdraw from the Union, and join NAFTA. Britain will always be treated in a second-rate fashion in Europe for reasons of historical jealousy, and anyway Anglo-Saxon economics is better represented in NAFTA, than in the lumbering bureaucracy of Europe.
Anyone British living in Europe should be dying for the day when the UK joins the euro. At the moment moving money to the UK costs a lot and is problematic involving special cheques or expensive transfers.
Europe is breaking down it's borders, we still have the sea, let's keep it that way.
I say let the euro happen but in return let Europe standardise on English as the language. Harmonise currency and language in one
Oh, and to John, who commented on the failure of federal states: you may have a point, except for the one federation of smaller states which has absorbed more cultural and linguistic traditions than any other, and which now coincidentally has the world's strongest economy - the USA!
If we want another major European war like we had last century, then joining the single currency is the right way to go about it. Joining will be an irreversible decision. Individual states will have no "get out" clause. The only way out would be through the use of force. I for one don't want to see my children fighting in another European war.
Why would joining the euro give up our national identity? Are we saying our culture and history are defined by the currency we hold?
Taking fiscal policy OUT of politicians hands would be a step in the right direction, since most economic decisions are made to keep governments in power, not safeguard long-term growth. Anyway - the real decisions determining world markets are made by the corporate giants, not governments. We are kidding ourselves to believe we vote governments into office to control our economies.
Creating a pan-European currency, controlled by an independent central bank, will undoubtedly benefit in the long run; even if the short term objections seem strong.
I am curious to know how, (when we apparently cannot afford to maintain the pensions of British citizens) we are going to afford to pay for the pensioners of the bankrupt French and German social security systems.
There is a simple answer, by becoming a very great deal poorer as a nation.
That is before we consider whether we wish to give up our sovereignty and independence to a group of corrupt and unaccountable bureaucrats.
Joining the euro would do Great Britain irreparable harm.
In my opinion, the great weakness in the Euro is the lack of action by Europe's leaders to adopt viable fiscal policy, along the lines of Britain and the USA. Canada's currency is in the same boat as the Euro, and it can be strongly tied to fiscal and regulatory policy which stifle the economy.
Unfortunately the whole euro issue, I feel is part of the current trend of "globalisation" that big business is obsessed with currently. Cutting costs and giving people "better service". Meanwhile all it actually provides is less choice for the consumer and a complete loss of any personal choice or identity, which the euro will aid in. Just in the hope of global businesses wanting to cut costs - which never does seem to be passed on to the consumer.
I am amazed that in this vitally important debate,
those pro monetary union, have not addressed
the often-raised problem of the one-size-for-all
interest rate. It appears that there is no solution
and therefore how can monetary union work?
In my opinion, the only credible solution is a competitive currency regime, i.e. you pay in any currency you agree to use with your counterpart. Even if it is money issued by a private bank. Governments, of course, would loose a powerful instrument to regulate, and this is good.
Sigitas Groblys, Lithuania
You take a couple of stronger currencies (DM, FF) and dilute them with a lot of weaker currencies and what do you get? A weak euro!
Sure the UK are getting screwed by having a strong pound but the Germans are getting screwed even more with a Mark which is worth nothing!
The success of the Euro relies on the strict, steadfast monetary policy of the ECB and the fiscal discipline of its members. In a Europe where politicians refuse to separate economics from politics this cannot be a reality without learning the hard way. For Britain to join the Euro now would be a mistake, plain and simple.
Roy Chapman, UK
Many Eurosceptics like Jens-Peter Bonde MEP hope that both London and Copenhagen will be celebrating to the same tune on Thursday. It's funny how the arguments for and against EMU echo across the channel. Hopefully this time, whatever the vote, the Danes' decision will be respected.
A central Euro currency and financial system would be a disaster for the UK.
Part of the fun in going abroad is to handle different currencies.
The only thing that should be considered in this debate is the economic value of joining the euro. The Conservatives appeal to Britishness and national identity is irrelevant. In economic terms the euro will give European countries collective bargaining power in international trade and is therefore to our benefit.
The dollar and the yen have a history and loyalty from the people of the countries who use them.
The euro is the product of those who wish to create history and who wish to control Europe.
These people are not trusted and not liked by the majority of people so why should such an unwanted currency deserve to succeed?
The euro must be avoided for two reasons. We need to retain the ability to adjust interest rates for our economy. Otherwise we will be stuck with rates too low during growth periods and too high during recessions. Both will be very harmful to jobs. Secondly, those individuals who make vital financial policy should be directly answerable to the electorate. This would not be the case if we joined the euro.
M Breslin, Sweden
I cannot see the integration of all the European countries ever being successful, the same problems that happened with the EMU will clearly repeat them selves. There is no way that the UK could drop it's interest rates to EU levels without incurring a massive rise in inflation, the most obvious example being the effect on house prices as variable mortgages drop.
The strength of the euro will only be as strong as the economy of the weakest country in the basket. The currency in the stronger European countries is more about than mere financial integration, it is about complete control of economies, interest rates, eventually Government and maybe sometime in the culture and language. Thanks but no thanks, I like my identity and don't relish being dictated to by someone who has vast cultural differences with me.
It's a simple choice: preserve national identity within a group of independent states, co-operating over trade and some other trans-national issues such as the environment, OR embark on the irreversible road to a federal superstate. Our choice could be influenced by the lesson of history: what happened to previous 'federations' which absorbed diverse linguistic and cultural traditions? Think of the ex-USSR, of Yugoslavia, of ex-colonial Africa... and beware!
Alan Dean, England
Scrap the "euro" and the whole "Europe" concept along with it. It is just another step along a path forged from lies and deceit. "Reduce frontier controls, remove duties, improve trade between European countries" was all that was intended. Nothing about faceless bureaucrats deciding to govern the whole of Europe while lining their pockets from the biggest gravy train ever. Scrap the lot, but learn from it and start again, this time with far more control.
The UK works longer hours for less money and lives shorter lives than Europeans. One of the reasons this sad state of affairs continues is that the UK has one of lowest levels of educational attainment in the EU? Join the euro, how could things get any worse!
We shouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. This economic disaster is completely inappropriate for our economy. It would be a stepping stone for European wide laws, tax policy and interest rate control. It simply won't work - we have enough problems in our small country with different areas impacted differently by our own internal tax/ interest rate policies. The next step would be for the British taxpayer to begin to bail out the massive pension shortfall that Europe will suffer over the next few decades - as if we don't have our own problems.
The anti-euro campaign has to stop itself becoming over-reliant on the weakness of the euro as support for its cause. In fact, the strongest economic arguments as to why the UK should not join have little to do with the strength or weakness of the euro.
These arguments are:
Could it be that the euro cannot cope with having a strong currency on its doorstep? Perhaps the Euro-zone should be asking for Sterling to join ("pretty please"); not pretending we're still in the days of de Gaulle.
Guy Dawson, UK
I don't think it is worth joining the euro as I have read in one of the daily papers that it was weakening, we should keep the pound and stay as we are.
Is it worth joining should not be the question - the question should be are the British willing to give up the queens head?
I wonder, would the euro continue to plunge if it were renamed the Deutsche Mark? Market speculation has a lot to answer for.
Scott Williams, UK
Consider this scenario:
Gary Farley, England
There is only one way to go forward. Britain and Denmark have to adopt the Euro or face isolation. Both governments have to look to the future not just in the next ten years but a lot further. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks. We are only one part of a much greater whole.
I would suggest that it is treasonable for our government to suggest that we relinquish our sovereignty
Sébastien Turner, UK
The Euro was the dreamchild of bureaucrats and textbook economists - it has nothing to do with people, their country or their origins. It has no life or history.
Let's join currencies with all the other countries in Europe. And let's
call the new currency "Sterling"!
Disclaimer: The BBC will use as many of your questions as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
Other Talking Points:
Links to other Talking Point stories
|^^ Back to top
News Front Page | World | UK | UK Politics | Business | Sci/Tech | Health | Education | Entertainment | Talking Point | In Depth | AudioVideo
To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>>
© MMIII | News Sources | Privacy