Sunday, 1 January 2012

Ten Very Happy Years

Today is the tenth anniversary of the Euro's launch in the form of coins and banknotes, three years after it had existed as a virtual currency. The launch was celebrated by fireworks, parties and solemn speeches ushering in a 'brave new world'.

Strangely though ten years on celebrations across the EU have, in contrast, been rather muted:
In Brussels, there will be neither a ceremony nor even a news conference to mark the occasion. That set the tone for other countries, many of which were doing the minimum: preparing to circulate a 2-euro commemorative coin for the anniversary.
So it would be rather remiss of me if I didn't indulge in a little gloating, As Richard North at EUReferendum puts it:
"If you cannot have the occasional gloat then, frankly, life ain't worth living."
Today, several Euro members are on the edge of bankruptcy. Europe is pitifully reduced to asking the IMF and China for help and the euro itself is on the brink of unravelling.

Have I said "We told you so" yet?

The Mail is also jumping on the gloating bandwagon by laying the boot into the BBC:
What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, the BBC announced ‘Euphoria in Euroland’ as it hailed the birth of the euro.

But with the single currency now facing collapse, the Corporation’s coverage of today’s anniversary has been notably more restrained, as senior executives prepare to defend their ‘pro-Brussels bias’ during a showdown meeting with Eurosceptics.
So here, as a bit of New Year's fun, are a few quotes from some of our great and wise 'leaders' such as Nick Clegg:
The euro, despite the foolish assumption of many commentators that it should be judged according to its external level with the dollar, has already provided great internal stability to the eurozone
The euro has done more to enforce budgetary discipline in the rest of Europe than any number of exhortations from the IMF or the OECD. If we remain outside the euro, we will simply continue to subside into a position of relative poverty and inefficiency compared to our more prosperous European neighbours.
Or this from Chris Huhne:
If we get rid of sterling and adopt the euro, we will also get rid of sterling crises and sterling overvaluations. This will give us a real control over our economic environment. Our manufacturers, farmers and other trading businesses would be able to rely on the exchange rate against our main continental trading partners staying unchanged forever.
And this from Michael Heseltine (my emphasis):
We see [the dangers] today in the exchange rates where our own non-membership of the eurozone is threatening great swathes of British manufacturing industry. The effect of [the introduction of euro notes and coins] will unleash a range of competitiveness which is simply not understood.

You see the most extraordinary things said about the plans to encourage British industry to change its capacity to trade in euros, as though changing over your tills and cash registers is somehow a contribution to the sacrifice of your sovereignty. If you have 300m people who have nothing but euros to spend you have to be barking mad not to be able to take the euros.
And Peter Mandelson:
The price we would pay [by not joining] in lost investment and jobs in Britain would be incalculable. Outside the euro, there is little we can do to protect industry against destabilising swings in the value of sterling.
Not forgetting Tony Blair:
Even if it [taking Britain into the euro] is unpopular, I will recommend it if it is the right thing to do.

Europe's economic fundamentals are sound: sounder than they have been for over a generation. The EU's economies are growing and it is important to underline that they are now creating jobs in Europe faster than almost anywhere else in the developed world.
The decision to launch the single currency is the first step and marks the turning point for Europe, marks stability and growth and is crucial to high levels of growth and employment.
Let's have this one from Yves-Thibault de Silguy a former EU Commissioner in 1998:
Britain can not survive as a serious international power unless it joins the single currency. We can live without you, but you can't live without us.
Or Charles Kennedy:
The euro, despite gloomy predictions from anti-Europeans, has proved to be a success. We cannot afford to be isolated from our biggest and closest trading partner any longer.
Or Wolfgang Muchau in the Financial Times in 2006:
There is not the slightest danger of a break-up of the Eurozone. On the contrary, I expect the Eurozone to be exceptionally stable in the long run. Make no mistake, the Eurozone is here to stay.
The world’s two large reserve currencies, the dollar and the euro, offer more protection from speculative attack than a free-floating offshore currency unit. The UK will at some point have to make a choice whether it wants to be in the Eurozone or whether it wants to seek an alternative use for those rather tall buildings in the heart of London.
Nostradamus has a better accuracy rate than that.

Still, the Euro managed to limp along and make it to Christmas, but the expectation must surely be that the crisis will return with a vengeance in the first few weeks of the New Year, certainly the noises are that a breakup in one form or another is being anticipated.

So will the Euro survive 2012? We'll have to wait and see but the chances are not good.


  1. Excoriating and deserved use of quotes which these shameless traitors will shrug off in their hubristic arrogance. Or more succinctly heads up their arses, pitiful cretins.

  2. Agreed, no doubt they will Oldrightie, though it'll be a lot harder to shrug off the consequences of a Euro collapse. Problem is we won't be able to shrug off the consequences either - the traitors have a lot to answer for.

  3. You omitted to include Clegg's more recent pearl of wisdom "no-one could have foreseen the current problems of the Eurozone." Complete and utter claptrap of course, as Hague, his Cabinet colleague could and should have publicly reminded him.

    Where have you got this from BF "as senior executives prepare to defend their ‘pro-Brussels bias’ during a showdown meeting with Eurosceptics." Which Eurosceptics, when, and what form will the showdown take?

  4. @Anonymous Another good quote, I omitted loads because it would have made the post very long :-)

    Regarding the quote, it comes from yesterday's Daily Mail, linked above