Thoughts on the Euro

With the financial crisis in Greece and some other Eurozone countries, it sounds like some Europeans are questioning the worth of the monetary union.

Great Debates question: Where does the Euro go from here? What is its long-term viability? If one country pulls out, will the whole thing crumble?

IMHO question: If your country uses the Euro, are you happy with it, or do you regret it?

I’m American, so I don’t use the Euro at home, and don’t plan to, but have lived and traveled to the EU at lot since before the Euro existed - used to be paid in DM once upon a time. There is good and bad I’ve seen with the Euro. I’ve got to believe that the good vastly outweighs the bad. Now, maybe the EU should have been a little more choosy on which countries they let in, but that’s water under the bridge at this point.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

Finn here. Euro has stregthened a lot last years. If the problems of Greece and others bring the value down a bit, to me it’s more like back to normal than a disaster.

Swede here:

I like using the euro when abroad, and I love not having to carry fifty currencies around. On the other hand, lately my faith in the EU managing rents has withered somewhat.

This is the first big test of the Euro. I’m happy that Britain’s well out of it.

I’m German, and I’m fine with the Euro; I don’t think it is in any real danger.
Of course we need to make sure that the problematic states get their finances in order and be careful when admitting new states.

I think we can handle Greece, though, and which country is going to pull out? The weak economies certainly aren’t. And I don’t think Germany and France want to.

A unified European currency just makes sense, and its benefits far outweigh the negatives.

A unified European currency might make sense, but I think the Eurozone is now reaping the rewards of admitting countries with less stable economies. Britain is definitely well out of the whole thing.

Well I’m in Ireland. On a personal note its great not having to worry about currency changes when visiting the continent.

I don’t think there wasn’t as much of a patriotic attachment to the Punt as there was in Britain to the Pound, probably because it was never seen as an example of Irishness, just a continuation of the Pound after independance.

The current economic mess has raised some questions about our ability to make our exports less expensive with devaluation not being an option. Also considering we are in the middle of a housing crash, having the European Central Bank controlling interest rates is worrying for people with large mortgages on houses that are now worth much less. Also there is a bit of a back lash about the fact that while we took painful decisions to sort out our problems (slashing Goverment spending, raising taxes), Greece seems to have money thrown at it even though they made virtually no effort to stabilise their economy, all for the sake of the euro.

But yeah, personally (and rather selfishly) as an employed person with no mortgage, its all good.

American living in London here, and glad not to be in the euro zone. Sure, I’m aware that the U.K. has its own financial issues as well, but I’d much rather be living in a country that can determine its own monetary policy than one locked into a straitjacket. (Not that I condone the Bank of England cutting rates to almost nothing and pissing away a bunch of money buying bonds.)

All the euro did was to create the ludicrous situation in which countries such as Germany with weaker economies, and therefore in need of real interest rates that were as low as possible, had higher real rates because inflation was lower than in nations such as Spain and Ireland with stronger growth. (Real interest rates = nominal interest rates - inflation.) At the same time, the countries with the strongest economies, and thus in need of higher real rates to control growth, had lower or even negative real rates because inflation was higher. Madness. IMHO, the source of the Irish and Spanish property bubbles isn’t exactly a deep mystery.

I voted “don’t want to join the Euro”. I’ve always felt that is unfair that anti-Euro people are derided as xenophobic Little Englanders. Anti-Euro does not necessarily mean anti-EU. I’m against the Euro because I think monetary union without political union is unworkable, and political union in a region as socially and linguistically diverse as Europe is just never going to happen. The Torygraph made the anti-Euro case well the other day:

  • While the European Central Bank controls eurozone interest rates and the money supply, the size of each country’s fiscal deficit results from the spending and taxation decisions of its own sovereign government.
    How can you enforce collective fiscal discipline in a currency union of individual sovereign states, each answerable to their own electorate? The truthful answer is you can’t – not unless you subjugate the autonomy of democratically-elected politicians and, by proxy, their voters.*

In the UK. I’m generally pro-EU for a lot of stuff, but I have come round to thinking that we should retain Sterling. Not because of any nationalistic reasoning, but because the eurozone comprises several differently managed economies; thus the currency is not representative, or at least only representative of the mean - and worse, adjustments to interest rates in eurozone economies are not viable. This is proving to be nucking futs. I lived in Ireland when it was suffering bad inflation because of a too-low ECB interest rate. Now Greece is fucked because of bad economic governance, but there ain’t a lot it can do to adjust the economy, and there’s no way the ECB will decrease rates just for Greece. The experiment, or Greece, is headed for a fall, I fear.

Is it time to start buying dollars?

I’m pretty confident in the Euro, Greece constitutes ~3% of the Eurozone. I’m especcially happy the UK isn’t part of the Eurozone, their financial situation about the same as the greeks, and on a much bigger scale.

Is it time to start buying dollars?

You misspelled Yuan.