Thursday, December 04, 2008

Will the UK Join the Euro?

When the euro was first conceived, there were some good economic reasons why the UK shouldn't be part of it. The euro has increased in popularity over the years there are now 15 members of the euro zone, as well as nine more states and territories using the euro as their sole currency, and many others, like Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Baltics, will join in the future. The labour party chancellor of the day set 5 tests that Britain would have to pass before the UK joined the euro, these tests at the time were so diverse that it seemed that the nation would never be likely to pass them all at the same time, oh how times have changed.

Today, the UK would pass the five tests with flying colours. Yet even as the euro becomes increasingly useful and powerful, the chances of the UK ever joining seem to get ever slimmer.

My feeling is that the time has passed. Tony Blair could have pushed it through at the beginning of his term in office, when he was flush with political capital, but he expended all of that capital, and then some, on the Iraq war instead. The whole issue is a bit of a political hot potato at the moment, the British press have stirred up a frenzy in the past because the UK would of course lose the ability to make decisions that suit itself, and not have to compromise with the rest of Europe, after all decisions made on monetary policy might be right for Germany or Malta but not perhaps Britain, but is this not the same for every member state?

I can see all the arguments against, but the arguments for, in the long term, far out way these. A big issue is public opinion, people don't like change, it makes them feel uncomfortable and uneasy and raises suspicion that a hidden agenda exists among the politicians. It was much the same here in Malta prior to the euro being adopted on the 1st of January this year, many local people in conversation would seek my opinion as an outsider, on the subject, not that I am an expert.

So the question remains, when will Britain wake up and join the euro?

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on". Robert Frost.

1 comment:

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