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Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK
The euro - will it cost us dear?

The Conservatives claim that switching to the euro could cost Britain £36bn - the same as paying for a new Millennium Dome every month for the next three years.

Shadow foreign secretary Francis Maude said: "If the Government has a better figure, let it share it with the public."

Prime Minister Tony Blair has ridiculed the Conservative claims and described them as "the usual Tory nonsense".

Chancellor Gordon Brown accused the Conservatives of a "desperate attempt" to divert attention from their own plans for £20bn in cuts and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy dismissed the Tory claims as a joke.

Is joining the euro an important political decision for you? Do you feel Britain would suffer if we didn't join, or do you think our economic independence is vital for financial stability? This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


Your reaction The euro is a disaster waiting to happen. It's performing badly in the present good financial climate. It will tear itself apart when the next global recession happens (and it will happen). Every decision in the Euro debate is a one way street. Once committed there is never the option of going back. I say not one inch further, and if possible we need to pull back on a lot of what we have already surrendered.
Graham Webster, Calne

Britain should have a stronger lead in Europe. The 1.5 million patients should have the right to be operated on in the European Union and give the NHS breathing space, instead of recruiting staff from countries that need every bit of medical help in their own countries
J. Zimmermann, OXON. UK


What's so great about the pound anyway? Scottish bank notes are not even considered legal tender in England.

Doug Imrie, Edinburgh, Scotland
What's so great about the pound anyway? Scottish bank notes are not even considered legal tender in England. Yesterday I had a Bank of Scotland £10 note not accepted for payment in a London shop! Give me the euro anytime, at least I'll be able to spend it.
Doug Imrie, Edinburgh, Scotland

Doug Imrie misses the point when he asks what's so great about the pound. Call it anything you like, but we print it, we control it, and we control the interest rates and taxes that are linked to it. With the euro we have to dance to someone else's tune. Personally I think that the countries of Europe are so different to each other that no "one size fits all" interest rate or tax system can ever work over the longer term. I'd rather we remain spectators to this political experiment.
Paul R, UK

Losing the Queen from our currency wouldn't bother me as she doesn't appear on it anyway - only on English notes. Scots are considerably less Europhobic than the English as will be witnessed by the lack of little Englander Tories returned here on June 7th.
Angus Anderson, Aberdeen, Scotland

We should join the euro. I do not understand why people love the pound. I'm sure there are better things to debate than the currency. We can print our own euros if we wish!
Richard White, London, England

Some of the comments on this site amaze me, yes I go on holiday to Europe often, and believe it or not I rather enjoy the company of the French, Spanish and Italians to name but three. What I object to though is the prospect of being ruled by an un-elected un-accountable European commission dictating to me, and knowing that there is nothing I can do about it. So come on you people who want us in the Euro, what's your answer?
Colin Mackay, UK


It is rubbish to say that the UK would suffer from not accepting the Euro

C Gillett, Somerset
In case they had not noticed, we are already outside the euro and, in fact, we seem to be doing quite nicely! It is rubbish to say that the UK would suffer from not accepting the Euro, or even by leaving Europe. The UK suffers from being in Europe, economically and legally. Trade would not be affected because of the GATT agreement and we could deal with our true friends in the Commonwealth and the US.
C Gillett, Somerset

The £36 Billion figure is just the latest Tory scare tactic. About the only thing they haven't tried yet is Tony Blair saying is an alien leading an invasion force!
Chris Ransom, Colchester, Essex

Since nearly half of our exports go to EU member states, wouldn't staying out of the euro mean we had absolutely no political influence on how we trade with our major importer of goods? An excluded Britain would be one small island trying to trade with a potentially vast new economic power. Even if we stayed out of monetary integration, who really believes that the decisions made by Europe wouldn't affect us? By Staying out of the Euro, Britain would be completely at the mercy of European legislation on how we trade with Euroland members. Far better then to be in Europe influencing economic decisions. This is too important an issue to stick your head in the sand
Peter Arnold, Harlow, Essex

Peter Arnold is right that not being in the euro will limit our influence to an extent. However, the points he makes about trade would only apply if we withdrew from the EU altogether. I'm not convinced that we'd be worse off by leaving the EU. We'd certainly be affected by it, but we would lose a lot of the red tape, be able to compete with the EU and deal with our industries in our own way and not do what Brussels dictate. While I understand the arguments of the pro-Euro/EU lobby, I also think that a UK outside of the EU would be leaner, fitter and better able to compete than a bloated EU.
Paul R, UK

The euro is clearly unpopular in Britain right now, and with good reason - the EU is in need of serious democratic reform - but no nation is economically independent anymore and Britain remains a spectator at its peril. The pound has hardly done well over the last 50 years.
Robin Prior, San Diego, USA


Irrespective of what anyone may say they cannot "load" such a question as "Do you want to join the euro?"

Neil Davies, UK
The Tory criticism of Mr Brown's policy on the Euro lacks logic. Labour will only recommend entry when the 5 economic tests are met, not before. After this they will leave it up to the public to decide and irrespective of what anyone may say they cannot "load" such a question as "Do you want to join the euro?" It is simply a yes or no answer. If the country is ready to join (which I do not think we are), we will join and if the country is still sceptical we will keep the pound. At least Labour will give us the choice of deciding such a momentous step for ourselves while the opposition will assume they know what we think.
Neil Davies, UK

Losing the Queen from our currency wouldn't bother me as she doesn't appear on it anyway - only on English notes. Scots are considerably less Europhobic than the English as will be witnessed by the lack of little Englander Tories returned here on June 7th.
Angus Anderson, Aberdeen, Scotland

We should join the euro. I do not understand why people love the pound. I'm sure there are better things to debate than the currency. We can print our own euros if we wish!!!
Richard White, London, England

Some of the comments on this site amaze me, yes I go on holiday to Europe often, and believe it or not I rather enjoy the company of the French, Spanish and Italians to name but three. What I object to though is the prospect of being ruled by an un-elected un-accountable European commission dictating to me, and knowing that there is nothing I can do about it. So come on you people who want us in the Euro, what's your answer?
Colin Mackay, UK

The £36 Billion figure is just the latest Tory scare tactic. About the only thing they haven't tried yet is Tony Blair saying is an alien leading an invasion force!
Chris Ransom, Colchester, Essex

Since nearly half of our exports go to EU member states, wouldn't staying out of the euro mean we had absolutely no political influence on how we trade with our major importer of goods? An excluded Britain would be one small island trying to trade with a potentially vast new economic power. Even if we stayed out of monetary integration, who really believes that the decisions made by Europe wouldn't affect us? By Staying out of the Euro, Britain would be completely at the mercy of European legislation on how we trade with Euroland members. Far better then to be in Europe influencing economic decisions. This is too important an issue to stick your head in the sand
Peter Arnold, Harlow, Essex

The euro is clearly unpopular in Britain right now, and with good reason - the EU is in need of serious democratic reform - but no nation is economically independent anymore and Britain remains a spectator at its peril. The pound has hardly done well over the last 50 years.
Robin Prior, San Diego, USA

The Tory criticism of Mr Brown's policy on the Euro is lacking in logic. Labour will only recommend entry when the 5 economic tests are met, not before. After this they will leave it up to the public to decide and irrespective of what anyone may say you they cannot "load" such a question as "Do you want to join the euro?" It is simply a yes or no answer. If the country is ready to join (which I do not think we are), we will join and if the country is still sceptical we will keep the pound. At least Labour will give us the choice of deciding such a momentous step for ourselves while the opposition will assume they know what we think.
Neil Davies, UK

If Britain joins the euro we will lose our right to govern ourselves. In other words, Brussels will have total control over Britain and we won't have any say. Britain will not go into financial turmoil if we withdraw from the EU, because we will still be able to trade with the EU even if we withdraw, contrary to the lies and propaganda from the Government. It is amazing how some people are fooled by the Government's spin and Pro-European propaganda. The UK Independence Party is the only party I support, because they will get us out of the bureaucratic EU for good and keep the pound forever.
Rhys Stephens, Cwmbran, UK

The rest of Europe doesn't really want the UK in the euro as we keep upsetting the apple cart in other issues. We are not "European citizens" - we are British until further erosion of our values in terms of devolution and regional assemblies turns us merely into units within a grander scheme. Personally, I think the current Labour leader has designs on the presidency of a Federal Europe.
Joffan Prenderghast, London


I have met very few French or German people who agree to their government joining the Euro

Jennifer, Essex, UK
In order to initially qualify for entry to the Euro club, the economies of EU countries had to conform to the famous 5 criteria. Because of the economic climate at the time, most did not, including core countries such as France and Germany. This being the case, "goalposts" were then moved to make sure they did qualify. That's called "cheating"! I have met very few French or German people who agree to their government joining the Euro. They know that they were bludgeoned into it with no referendum on something so critical) by Mitterand and Kohl Give me an even field and some honesty from politicians and maybe I will vote for the Euro.
Jennifer, Essex, UK

At the coming referendum everyone should look at all the EU regulations, treaties, etc on the Euro and its operation. Data on the rules and running of the Euro can easily be found on the EU website. Let those who want the Euro vote for it but not without looking at all the issues first.
Jonathan Castro, Caterham, UK

I am amazed by the poverty of the arguments generally advanced in favour of joining EMU. Even in economic terms, the case for joining the euro is minimal. The political case is non-existent: membership of the single currency must imply a common fiscal policy, with taxation and public expenditure levels set by bodies unaccountable to the British electorate. It is, quite simply, incompatible with the continued existence of the UK as an independent nation. Some may genuinely will this; those who don't, but just want to escape the bureau de change on holiday, should think again.
Dugald Barr, London

Surely, if Blair bumps us into the EU, all these fancy promises, including the prudent policies of Brown will be irrelevant as Brussels bureaucrats will decide what happens in member countries?
Jim Christopherson, Flookburgh, UK

Why join the Euro when the sterling pound is the strongest currency in the world. Has been for years and will be for more! As for reasons such as going on holiday in Europe, why is Spain or Germany so different to the USA or Mexico except that it is a lot cheaper to travel to other European countries for our summer getaways?
Calvin Ayre, Camberley, England


The Euro is economic madness

Alex Ray, Croydon, England
The Euro is not only economic madness, but ultimately a political tool to ensure one European State, and goes right to the heart of democracy. If we dislike the way that the economy is being run then we can remove the Government through the ballot box, but if the economy is being run via an unaccountable, un-elected body we have no choice as citizens about the course of our country.
Alex Ray, Croydon, England

Keeping the pound is not in the interest of the UK nor (sorry to disappoint the anti-US pro-euro crowd) in the interest of the United States. Moving to the euro will be good for the UK's economy; freer trade, more investment, greater efficiency. Having the UK in the euro will give Britain greater weight in European decision making. A strong UK, at the centre of European decision making, providing a counter balance to the French/German duopoly will benefit both of our countries.
Groff Bittner, San Diego, California, USA

Given that only 47% of our total trade is with the EU, and given that 26% of that trade is conducted in US dollars, it is obvious that the question of the Euro is political and not economic. If we joined the Euro, we could never withdraw from the EU without doing a great deal of economic damage to ourselves, whereas if we withdrew now, the effect on our economy would be negligible. (See NIESR report and Neil Kinnock's comments on Radio 4 1st Feb 2001)

"The finance of the country is ultimately associated with the liberties of the country. It is a powerful leverage by which English liberty has been gradually acquired. If the House of Commons by any possibility lose the power of the control of the grants of public money, depend on it, your very liberty will be worth very little in comparison." William Gladstone, 1891.
David Lonsdale, Wilmslow, England

England is still England, whether the pound or the euro is the main currency! I pay most of my transactions with a card - where's the pound there?
Matthew C. Pead, Southampton, UK

Joining the Euro is fine, more power for Brussels is not. How can these two be reconciled?
D Jaeger, Douglas, Isle of Man, UK


We beat Germany in two World Wars

Kieran, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, UK
This is another way the EU is trying to take control of us. We beat Germany in two World Wars, and Napoleon, to not become a part of them, so I believe we will not give up our pound and right to be British. If it was up to me we wouldn't have a vote to have the Euro, more like we should have a vote to leave the European rapid reaction force and leave the EU
Kieran, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, UK

Britain has done well for the last 2000 years. Why do the Europeans want to turn the UK into a petty state?
Mark D. Aquilina, Melbourne, Australia

Labour have continued their mantra about Tory tax plans being unaffordable since the start of the campaign but unless they can clearly state that the costs for Euro preparation are much less than any planned or aspired-for tax savings then they will be seen as not being able to add up. 36 take away 7 (or even the 20 they scoff at) sounds like a lot more spending that could go in to schools, hospitals and police if they really care about these matters! They want a referendum and wish to be prepared to go in so why hasn't this been costed in the Manifesto?
M Beeley, Tavistock, Devon, UK


If the UK is so anti-Europe why do we all go there on holiday?

Steve W, UK
If the UK is so anti-Europe why do we all go there on holiday? I have no problem with full integration and I think it makes sense from a trade point of view. To dig in and say we will never join the Euro is misguided. It's happening so lets get on the train now! If Europe is such a threat to our way of life where are the French bread shops, German sausage shops etc. The threat to culture and lifestyle surely comes from America. Just look at the way Macdonald's and popular youth culture etc have infiltrated. Having a fully co-ordinated Europe surely counter balances the American threat.
Steve W, UK

I don't think joining the Euro will affect our identity. The other countries have signed up. Is France any less French or Germany any less German? I think there are big advantages in joining the Euro. For example, businesses and tourists would be able to trade without the added cost of currency exchange or the uncertainty of fluctuating exchange rates. Also, when anyone goes on holiday within the Euro-zone they'll not have to deal with "foreign money" because it will be our money too.
Marc Roddis, Cambridge, UK and Uppsala Sweden

Mrs Thatcher said never ditch the pound, and this was seen as patriotic. But what if every right-wing economist, pundit, etc. agreed that to join would help the UK jobs, interest rates and mortgage rates, she would still have to say no. That is not patriotism.That is stupidity for the sake of dogma.
Mike Cooke, Newcastle, staffs

The euro will cost us dear - if we stay out of it for too long.
Aaron, UK


Once taken, the step is irrevocable

Lynda Battersby, Camborne, Cornwall, UK
Tony Blair has stated that if the Labour Party are re-elected the question posed to the electorate in a referendum will be, "Do you want to join the euro, yes or no. Might I suggest that a better question would be "Do you want to exchange the pound for the euro permanently?" Once taken, the step is irrevocable. It doesn't take a financial genius to work out just how much our contribution would be missed in Brussels. But the European Central Bank would use that contribution to the greater good of the majority of member countries, not necessarily Britain.
Lynda Battersby, Camborne, Cornwall, UK

We were thrown out of the ERM when the German mark was 2.85 to the pound. We got no help from France or Germany. The mark is now 3.23 to the pound. We could not hack it then and we certainly can't hack it now at this level. The only reason that the euro-zone want the UK in, is to give street-cred to the plunging euro.
Cawdery, Portadown, Northern Ireland

How utterly ridiculous the debate about the Euro is! Walk down your street and who do you see campaigning against the Euro? Those Brits standing there "Ra, Ra, let's keep the pound we can't lose HM's head on the currency" - utter tosh. We lost the majority of control over our economy the day the Conservatives took us ever closer to globalisation. We now have the opportunity to be part of an economic unit strong enough to challenge the US - why not take it?
David K, London, UK

What I find very interesting in this whole debate is that throughout the UK there is discussion regarding the North/South divide. It has been noted that this divide exists. It has been argued that the North would be better with a different economic policy from the South. If this is the case, surely this is evidence enough to avoid integrating ourselves into a larger economic area where wider variations in economic cycles exist.
Simon, London, England


The whole Euro argument is based on one thing; anti-Americanism

Paul R, UK
The whole Euro argument is based on one thing; anti-Americanism. Those who complain about being a lapdog to America forget one thing. In a federal Europe we'll be the lapdog of France and Germany. Anyone who thinks we'll have a real say should stop viewing the world through rose tinted glasses.
Paul R, UK

Mr Hague did answer Jeremy Paxman's question, it just wasn't the answer that Jeremy wanted. You have to remember that Jeremy is the man that accused Bill Gates of being responsible for paedophiles on the internet, because he was the one who created the internet. Jeremy hasn't the brains to ask proper questions, let alone get the answer back without talking over the interviewee. Please get rid of him.
Phil Holmes, London England

Regarding Phil Holmes comments - Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft, the only part of the Internet attributable to him is the browser Internet Explorer - which is only popular because it comes free with the Windows Operating system! Regarding the pound/euro - will the pound buy more than the Euro because it has the Queen's head on it? I think not! A rose by any other name.
Darlo Mick, Darlington, England

Having studied monetary policy, I find that Gordon Brown´s five tests make very good sense. If the UK-EU cycles are reasonably synchronised and if the entry rate is OK, just jump in, but if the cycles are too different, joining should be postponed. I have yet to hear something from the Tories that makes economic sense.
Edward Christie, Vienna, Austria (UK)

If we are part of the euro, we will surrender control over interest rates and ultimately over tax rates as well. There will be no incentive for non-European investors to come to Britain, since they will get an equally good (bad?) return anywhere else in the EU. Britain, with its high cost of living (insanely high petrol tax, ridiculous property prices in SE England, food prices higher than most other places in Europe) and the wreckage of its transport system, already has a lower chance of attracting foreign companies to base themselves here. Admittedly the strong pound adds to the difficulty in that exports are relatively expensive - but do we really want to devalue the currency and go back to the days of the plunging pound and spiralling inflation? And has anyone thought of the consequences of adopting everyone else's economic problems? Britain has a strong economy, with the majority of our trade outside the EU, and is already helping to prop up the euro. We are standing on our own two feet and will continue to do so - why should we be dragged down by economic union and a single currency?
Janet, Kent, UK

Why does Gordon Brown keep repeating that William Hague has said he would save 20 billion pounds on taxes, the amount I have heard voiced by him is 8 billion pounds, but what can you expect from a man who comes on TV and tells the public he has given pensioners a £5.00 increase, I received £3.15p and my friend received £1.13p, I would like to know what happened to the balance,
B. Black, Kirkcaldy, Scotland

The world's bankers don't want to buy the Euro (its very low), 70% of the Germans don't want it, it was forced on them, The Danes don't want it, the French on balance don't. So who wants it and why? There are those that forecast a land of milk and honey if we join and there are those that forecast a land of milk and honey if we don't. Now since forecasts and predictions are by definition wrong unless you are a "spread sheet jockey", which forecast do you back, or do you hold back a bit until the lie of the land is a little clearer. I'm not into such long odds accumulators. The central banks have already spent significantly more to prop up the euro than the election tax cuts and incremental social programs promised. The only beneficiaries to date have been currency speculators. Governments are gambling huge sums with taxpayers' money so hard earned and saved.
Bill, UK


We will just have to add a little sugar to the medicine to make the bitter taste disappear when it comes to joining the single currency

Dave, Berwick, UK
What is all the fuss about? Why are people getting so rattled about the pound against the euro when in a credit card and debit card society, very few people actually deal in pound notes, you know the old messy paper things? It is just a matter of time before money is completely replaced with some sort of electronic gadget. Technology will take over and money as we know it will cease to be an issue, so what does a name matter? The way things stand just now, partially thanks to eighteen years of selling out by the Tories, Britain's economy relies too heavily on European investment. We will just have to add a little sugar to the medicine to make the bitter taste disappear when it comes to joining the single currency.
Dave, Berwick, UK

Isn't it strange that the Conservatives are now worried about European economic policies being bad for Britain, but under Thatcherism they regularly set interest rates to suit the booming South while ignoring Scotland, Wales, North England and the South West. If they are right that many countries can't share the same interest rate or levels of taxation, then isn't there an argument for a break up of the UK too? The whole Conservative position is ridiculous.
Martin, Harlow, Essex

I wish to make it clear that EMU involves much more than just changing banknotes, including transfer of currency reserves, lock in to interest rates fixed in Frankfurt, with no way out
K M Wells, Felpham, W Sussex


No-one suggests that Mississippi and Connecticut would benefit from different currencies and interest rates.

Mick Willett (British), Aachen, Germany
Those who claim that rich and poor countries cannot share a single currency are talking rubbish. What about the USA's rich New England and poorer Deep South areas? No-one suggests that Mississippi and Connecticut would benefit from different currencies and interest rates. The economic argument for the euro is clear - the benefits for trade must far outweigh any disadvantage resulting from a common interest rate.
Mick Willett (British), Aachen, Germany

What is most concerning is not the two sides of the argument, but the stunning ignorance of those contributing to it. The people with the least knowledge seem to be the people with the most opinions. When on earth will the major political parties realise that it is not the job of obviously biased politicians to influence opinion. Fear of change and pathetic sentimentalism with absolutely no reason not to enter, and fear of being left behind is no reason to join. I want my decision to be based on facts, not emotive influential comments by those with a vested interest.
Marvin Thistle, Manchester, UK

The euro is so pathetically weak at the moment that we can't possibly join yet. What the government (Tory or Labour) will do is to wait until the other countries have borne the brunt of the changeover costs of inflation and economic instability, and then go in in four or five years time when the euro is one of the strongest currencies in the world. Simple.
Tim Green, Liverpool, England


Would it not make more sense for Europe to join GB, rather than GB join Europe?

Carlisle Ryton, Swanley UK
What do the political parties really know about monitory systems? Is this a case of the Bundesbank and Swiss banks Vs. the Federal Reserve and the world gold reserves at Fort Knox? Can GB really adopt the Euro in reality, or is it facade? Is this a setup for a government to claw money away from an unsuspecting public during the exchange of worthless Euros for GB Pounds? Our banking system is hundreds of years old and extremely well established, what shall prevail against it? Could casting away of the pound be likened to casting away your lifejacket in the middle of a raging sea? Would it not make more sense for Europe to join GB, rather than GB join Europe? Does Europe really love us, or do they hate us?
Carlisle Ryton, Swanley, UK

I am tired of the repeated mantra of '3 million jobs depend on the Euro'. Have you thought there might be the occasional EU job depending on us?. In fact there is a trade imbalance with the EU we import more than we export and an estimated 4.2 million jobs in the EU depend on us, the 4th largest economy in the world. Does anyone really expect trade to change because the politicians don't get their own way and have their dream of a single currency? Our jobs are safer out of the Euro as the past 30 months have shown.
Joe, East Midlands


The real question is whether or not we wish to remain an nation with some independence from Europe

Matt Shaw, England
The question of whether or not to join the euro is a red herring, the real question is whether or not we wish to remain an nation with some independence from Europe Losing control of our ability to make economic decisions is a large step towards a super state, this is what we should be discussing. If only the politicians would stop living for the next days headlines and look forward to the real issues of the future and dare to make real, precise statements on these types of issues, then we would have a election to interest the electorate and show politicians do want to affect our history
Matt Shaw, England

It seems that Hague and Portillo think the population is so stupid that they will be hoodwinked by the phrasing of the question in any referendum on the Euro. Surely we won't need to understand the question, if we want the Euro we vote for whatever Blair and Brown say to vote for and if we don't then we vote for whatever Hague and Portillo say to vote for. Or are William and Michael worried that they will be too stupid to understand the question and will campaign for the wrong side?
Graham B, Fareham, England

Surely a referendum is the fairest way. Simply saying "Save The Pound" just promotes sad devotion to a small island. If the British people vote "NO" to the Euro then at least they will have no one to blame but themselves when the UK slips into financial crisis.
Tony B, UK

If it was not for an independent and obstinate minded Britain, there might now be a united Europe called the Third Reich.
James Griffiths, Skelmersdale, UK

Never mind the euro, I think we should simply have a general election once a month for the next 3 years, that wall all the political parties will work like crazy to find out what we want and deliver the goods.
Steve Nicholls, London UK


The benefit for the UK of setting its own economic policy is tangible, just ask the Germans and the Irish

Peter, Australia
To me the real Little Englanders are those who are too frightened to stand on their own without running to other countries for support. Why are so many of these Little Englanders afraid to stand on their own two feet? The future of Britain is no more with Europe than it is with Mars.

The Europeans would not stop trading with the UK if it remained outside the Euro. Nor would other countries stop investing in the UK. This has already been shown by the fact that since the Euro was established there has been no sign that the UK needs it.

And the benefit for the UK of setting its own economic policy is tangible, just ask the Germans and the Irish who are struggling with inflation and unemployment as a result of the one size fits all approach of the ECB.
Peter, Australia

The Conservatives attempt to make the election a referendum on the Euro is pretty hypocritical. Are they going to say OK we've had the referendum now and the pro-Europeans won the day after the election? I don't think so.
J Davies, Inverness

Currency is a means of facilitating exchange of goods and services between people. If it is a means of exchange, the greater number of people that accept the currency concerned, the greater the stability of the money, ie agreed value of the currency.
B Hanning, Brentford UK

I agree with the principle to join the euro, but it must be done at a realistic rate. This will require a higher rate of euro against the pound.
Arnold, Denbighshire


The fact that most of Europe will not be able to pay pensions to anyone far sooner than us, seems to have been lost.

Simon Adams, London, UK
What most people here seem to be ignoring is the question about the cost being so many times the dome. The fact that most of Europe will not be able to pay pensions to anyone far sooner than us, seems to have been lost. They may have better hospitals in Europe but they've financed them with short-term decisions. How many times do we have to bail them out of their mess?
Simon Adams, London, UK

In time, the British people will come to terms with being Europeans, as many do already, but with such a rabidly anti-European press the case will be difficult, and I feel it does fall to the broadcast media to present an unbiased case for and against, when that is done the prospect of joining will not seem "unpatriotic" but will actually be seen to be good for Britain. Hopefully by then the prospect of a "Superstate" will have receded, and people will be happy to belong to a decentralised federation of sovereign countries - that is what the EU represents.
Will Parker, London, UK

I find this devotion to Sterling odd. I wonder how many people who profess such a loyalty to it pay their bills by direct debit, credit cards and switch cards. These options are already a "global currency". Sterling - like all the world's currencies - is just an anachronism in the modern world.
Billy, Glasgow, Scotland

I think we should all stop with the patriotic nonsense, because being pro-European doesn't mean you are anti-British. We must accept that Britain itself is no longer a super-power and if we want any influence on world matters we need to have the Euro and push plans forward for a EU Super-state. That is the only way we will be able to compete effectively with other up and coming super powers.
John Smith West Midlands, UK


Of course we could leave Europe and then it really would be the case of asking the last person to leave to switch of the lights

Bob Ryan, Chippenham, UK
Even if we do not join the Euro, treaty obligations require us to align the pound against the euro within two years of the final conversion of Europe to the new currency. Staying out would give us the worst of all worlds: no voice, a tied currency, the continuation of the exchange costs we bear now, poor price transparency and exposure to a re-run of the currency crises which have dogged Britain since the collapse of Bretton Woods. Of course we could leave Europe and then it really would be the case of asking the last person to leave to switch of the lights.
Bob Ryan, Chippenham, UK

Personally I'm not in favour of joining the euro. Why? No fixed exchange rate has ever worked in Europe - the gold standard, Bretton Woods or the ERM; the ECB is not institutionally accountable to anybody other than the unelected European Commission; and the UK is still attracting the majority of inward investment in Europe even after the creation of the euro zone. It would seem to me that the euro zone cannot do without the UK, not the other way round.
Michael Thomas, London, UK

I'm 43 and proud to be British. We are an island off mainland Europe, and I personally don't feel European at all. We have very little in common with them, but joined the EEC for trading ties and there it should have stayed. Politically, I would rather we became a state of the USA if they will have us - at least we speak the same language. We can still trade with Europe. This currency thing is a total red herring.
Chris Beaver, Stoke-on-Trent, UK

Chris Beaver misses a vital point in his assertion that he would rather be in partnership with the US than Europe - whilst the European parliament may have its shortcomings, we do at least get a vote there - we have no such representation in the US senate or house of representatives. To follow the Tory or UKIP way would be to condemn Britain as America's poodle for evermore.
Peter, Telford


Saying "save the pound" just promotes sad devotion to a small island.

Tony B, UK
Surely a referendum is the fairest way. Simply saying "save the pound" just promotes sad devotion to a small island. If the British people vote "no" to the euro, then at least they will have no-one to blame but themselves when the UK slips into financial crisis.
Tony B, UK

Most people who are opposed to the euro are afraid they won't be able to understand how much that side of beef costs when they are looking at it in the shop - not because of any sound or reasonable economic or political judgment.
Bjorn Lynne, Wakefield, England

When will the europhiles realise that people are not "sentimentally attached" to the pound because of the queen's head or the empire? It is because the pound is controlled by the UK government and the Bank of England who can set interest rates/tax policies for the UK's benefit. If we join the Euro we will lose that right. I cannot see how wanting to keep control of one's own affairs amounts to a "bigoted sentimental ramble".
Richard, London, UK

Does anyone know how long we have had the pound? We have had it for at least a thousand years. We don't want to scrap it. End of story.
Gareth Prior, Wigan, England

The Labour government is either lying about tax and social policy harmonisation after joining the euro, or they want to join to destroy the euro, as the currency won't survive without tax and social policy harmonisation. But then you need a government to control the policy, then that government needs an army to protect it, a foreign policy to control the army and a federal tax to fund these things. People always point out the USA's single currency, but they forget that the inevitable centralisation of some policy areas was to a large extent to blame for the American civil war.
Andrew, Bolton, England


The euro is a stupid idea, and within 50 years will be the cause of a pan-European war

John Atkins, Bridgwater, England
Why not adopt the euro and let each country keep the name of their currency? Thus national pride will be satisfied, yet all the supposed benefits will still exist. The euro is a stupid idea and within 50 years will be the cause of a pan-European war.
John Atkins, Bridgwater, England

The euro is an ambitious project that will cost its members dearly. There are virtually no good economic reasons for entering the euro - it may remove the risks of floating EU exchange rates but it will also remove the opportunities. Don't be fooled - EMU is a purely political project aimed towards binding Europe into a single nation. Fear not the "we can't survive outside" scaremongers or the "it's inevitable" defeatists. Nothing is inevitable - this is a democracy and it's time for the people to make their demands!
Philip Moore, London UK

It would be nice if people started seeing Europe and everything that goes along with it as an opportunity rather than a threat. Sure it doesn't work right now, so let's be part of it and fix it instead of helplessly whingeing all the time.
Gareth, Reading, UK

In 1975, many of us voted for membership of the "Common Market" in good faith. We were told it was going to be a genuine common market - an association of independent, freely trading nation states. Instead, we have the European Union; centralised, bureaucratic, unaccountable and dictating policies we would never vote for in an election. This country should be justly proud of the political stability we have enjoyed for the last 200-odd years. During that time no extremist group has ever sway in British politics - unlike many countries in mainland Europe. Governments get elected democratically and change when the will of the people demands it. Are we really so eager to relinquish everything to Brussels, including out currency? Long live entente cordiale but vive la différence!
Lynda Battersby, Camborne, Cornwall, UK


Hague's patriotism is economic madness

David Wrede, Fife, Scotland
It is not the cost of entering the euro that counts, it will be the terrible cost of not entering it. Three years ago when I was in Melbourne, the business pages of the Australian (not a left wing journal) were full of Aussie businessmen saying they would have to look for countries other than the old mother country (UK) to invest in if we were to stay outside the euro zone. The Japanese feel the same. Hague's patriotism is economic madness.
David Wrede, Fife, Scotland

Surely the whole point is that it is in our economic interest to join the euro. This has to be established even before a referendum is held. If it is in our economic interest, then by definition the cost of joining is outweighed by the benefits of membership. A referendum will allow all of the costs and benefits to be examined in great detail. If you're opposed to the euro vote Labour - only this will ensure the case for the euro is examined properly and that the people, not any political party, will decide whether to join.
Kevin Parker, UK

I think the cost of staying out of the euro will be far greater in the long term than the cost of conversion. Can the Tories be trusted to 'save' the pound anyway? Thatcher seems intent to make us the 51st American state and exchange the pound for the dollar. The world economy is changing. The dollar and the euro are being accepted and used in more and more countries. While we might have some small short-term gains in being outside the euro it is clear that if we take too long we will suffer greatly.
David Patrick, Reading, UK

Join? Yes. At any price? No.
RAH, UK

If Mr Hague feels so passionate about keeping the pound, why doesn't he state quite categorically that if he wins the election on June 7th he would not sign up to the single European currency as long has he remained prime minister?
Malcolm Downs, Cardiff


It's about time we modernised and started to lead in Europe

Peter Robinson, Southport, England
When I visited rural Spain in 1998 I noticed the small local shop had its prices in both pesetas and euros. The till could cope with either currency. Three years later, we in the UK are still lagging behind the rest of Europe, even arguing about using imperial measures which haven't been taught for 30 years. It's about time we modernised and started to lead in Europe.
Peter Robinson, Southport, England

Perhaps the £36 billion refers to lost foreign currency exchange commission that the banks will no longer be able to rip off from holiday makers and businessmen every time we visit countries in the euro zone. Or is it the lost trade with the euro zone if we stay out?
Phil Wade, Brentwood, UK

So what if the changeover to the euro proves to be expensive? It's short-term pain versus long-term gain. And besides, when Britain finally goes into the euro, we'll be able to glean the knowledge and experience of other countries. Compared to our European neighbours, we've got it easy. But still we complain.
Andrew, Paris

Plucking a figure out of the air and then challenging your opponents to deny it is a cheap trick a sad local paper would use to generate a headline when they've got nothing else to print.
Steve, UK

I used to be the ultimate sceptic, but I am all for the euro. I have 4 currencies in my pocket and it's irritating beyond belief. That's just for France, Belgium, Holland and the UK. It would be nice if I could have one single currency. At least my pockets won't be ruined.
Alex Banks, UK, living in Holland


In America we have a free trade zone with Canada and Mexico but would not dream of giving up the dollar

Andrew Hicks, Dallas, United States
Taxation and interest rates are an essential control of a country's currency and it is natural that the euro would require one rate. Do people honestly believe the rate for Greece would be suitable to that of Germany? Being part of the EU is essential to Europeans because it allows them to compete with us on fairer terms given the small nature of European countries but to try and turn 15 countries into one is madness. In America we have a free trade zone with Canada and Mexico but would not dream of giving up the dollar. I think British people really need to think about whether they want to give up their independence to a group of foreign leaders who have no link to Great Britain at all.
Andrew Hicks, Dallas, United States

The British people may not be stupid but they are certainly ignorant of the political and economic benefits and drawbacks of entering the euro. Are we really be qualified to decide this hugely important issue? Surely this is the job of elected politicians.
Justine, London

Britain has been here before - in 1707 when the Scots had to decide whether or not to commit themselves to economic and political union. The Scots did in fact get a raw deal in many respects, mainly due to the "anglo-sceptics" who wanted nothing to do with England. Instead of being able to negotiate a good deal for Scotland, the anglo-sceptics weakened the Scottish hand. The euro-sceptic position completely ignores the lessons from history. Our politicians should be working hard for us, negotiating the best that can be got from Europe.
Maggie, Walton-on-Thames, England

Free Trade? Yep! Friendly relations? Sure! EMU? Nah - better off poor and free.
Paul T, London England


We'd rather have an informed debate on the subject and then take part in the referendum promised by Tony Blair

Denny, Maidstone, Kent
William Hague, in saying that the election on 7 June is a referendum on the euro, has signed his political death warrant. He has based that slogan on the assumption that the British people are stupid. We're not. We'd rather have an informed debate on the subject and then take part in the referendum promised by Tony Blair. Another assumption about the stupidity of the electorate is when Hague implies we won't understand the question asked in the referendum! His political naiveté is there for all to see. We'll be well shot of him on June 8th. Then we can begin some real politics about real issues - especially the euro.
Denny, Maidstone, Kent

Both prices and interest rates in the euro zone have to date been consistently lower than in the UK. Can Hague assure us that this will be reversed if we "keep the pound"?
Ray, Leeds, UK

The Tories know they can beat Labour on the euro. The post election scenario after Tony Blair wins is that Portillo replaces William Hague. Whilst Gordon Brown steps back from the fray, Portillo defeats Blair on the euro. Blair is forced to resign and Brown becomes PM. It becomes Brown v Portillo at the next general election. So you can see why Blair is making positive statements about the euro while Hague is doing all he can to be negative. Both leaders are simply trying to preserve their own positions.
Mac, Dundee


It is the biggest threat our land has faced since WWII

Trevor Bell, Leigh, Lancs
The most precious thing a nation has is its independence and freedom. If Tony Blair gets back in he will use every trick in the book to take that independence from us by handing over control of our own money. It is the biggest threat our land has faced since WWII.
Trevor Bell, Leigh, Lancs

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The issues of EU membership explained
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