Twelve of the fifteen EU members will join the Eurozone and adopt the Euro as their only currency from January 1st 2002. Only Great Britain, Denmark and Sweden will not be joining. Providing that the Euro launches successfully, we believe it is only a matter of time before the other three countries join.
Obverse and Reverse of 2002 United Kingdom Unofficial Pattern One Euro Coin
Will The Euro be Successful?
The Euro is already in use for non-cash transactions within all the Eurozone countries. Even in the three non-zone countries it is possible to have a bank account in Euros, and this helps many larger businesses to manage their currencies and foreign exchange transactions more efficiently. The Euro is already being used successfully, and has been for a few years. There are still many critics who have pointed to the fall in value of the Euro, but most world currencies fluctuate quite considerably, perhaps alarmingly, and this does not mean they are unsuccessful. The pound sterling for example has fluctuated between about $1.06 and $2.60 in the past few decades. The mighty dollar fell from 1/35 ounces of gold to about 1/850 ounces of gold before recovering to about 1/270 ounces currently, in other words it has fallen to one eighth of its previous value in just over 30 years. We believe that the Euro will work successfully when introduced for cash transactions. Obviously there will be some teething problems and these will be much publicised and ridiculed by the media, who will be in tune with the normal human instinct to resist change.
Obverse and Reverse of 2002 United Kingdom Unofficial Pattern Five Euro Crown
Should Great Britain Join The Euro?
Providing that the Euro does complete its launch successfully, it is difficult to see how the UK can afford to remain outside the Euro economically and politically. It will risk being marginalised in the EU if it fails to join within a few years. At present the public opinion in the UK is against joining the Euro, and for keeping the pound. This is entirely natural and understandable. Almost all change is resisted for various reasons, mainly psychological. Fear of the unknown, laziness in trying to avoid the extra the adaptation will require. Other European countries have overcome their inertia and fear, and it may be asked why Britain should be a special case. The fact that the UK is an island adds to the natural reserve of its inhabitants. The British rarely bother to learn other languages, and cross national borders less frequently than their mainland counterparts. Another reason for greater inertia is that the British have had their own currency the pound for much longer than many other European nations, and been invaded and conquered less frequently and less recently.
When Will Great Britain Join The Euro?
Obviously we don't know the answer to this, even Tony Blair and Gordon Brown probably don't know yet. It would also be impossible at this late stage to join at the start, particularly as most Europeans have had Euro bank accounts and invoicing for some years already. We simply could not mint the quantity of coins, or print the number of banknotes required in sufficient time. As we have already missed the start, we may as well stand back and watch. If the Euro launch is a disaster, the UK politicians will be able to appear ultra-smart by having avoided the debacle. Once the Euro is firmly established, many Britons will increasingly be able to see its advantages, and their political opinions will change. Currently about 70% of the UK population are against the Euro, we belive this will drop to under 50% within about 12 months of the Euro's full launch. It may be relatively trivial considerations which alter the public perception, for example when Britons realise that they only need one currency for a European holiday, and that they don't have to lose 5% in foreign exchange charges every holiday, that they can keep their French Euros when they go on a Spanish holiday, they will start to envy the other Europeans who can just use their own money in any other Eurozone country. Another factor will be when the pound suffers its next cyclical downturn, and the British realise that one large currency can be more robust than a large number of minor ones.
What About The Politicians?
In all the analyses of the recent election, most commentators noted that Labour kept quiet about its intention to join the Euro, if it had honestly publicised its beliefs, it may not have been elected, and there seems nothing politicians care more about than getting elected. Strangely enough the Conservatives campaigned to keep the pound, and were soundly beaten. Our feeling is that the Conservatives were wrong, if sincere, to believe in keeping the pound. Quite why they fared so badly we do not know, although it is well known that all governments become unpopular in time, and it seems to take quite some years before the electorate realise that the other party used to be, and still is just as bad in its own ways. One interesting observation is that the majority of the electorate voted for none of the candidates or parties!
Obverse and Reverse of 2002 United Kingdom Unofficial Pattern Five Cents Euro Coin
Britain will join the Euro, and we will start moving towards it during 2002. It is only a question of time how long we can afford to remain out of it. Sweden and Denmark also can hardly afford to remain apart from the Euro for more than a few years. Within a few years, the government will be spending its (our) advertising dosh to persuade us that the Euro is a desirable necessity.
British Euro Coins
An enerprising British company has produced an unofficial pattern set of UK Euro coins. We have them available, although they have been selling faster than hot cakes. Please see our new EuroCoins website, particularly the British Euro Coins page.
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This page was originally published on one of our websites back in 2002, although we believe it still has relevance today.
Written by Lawrence Chard of Chard Coins. Any images and text are copyright and remain our intellectual property
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