15 years of the euro: What will become of Europe's currency?
It is the currency shared by 19 countries and around 340 million people. It has both been viewed with scepticism and seen as proof of European unity. It has been subjected to major tests of endurance and stands for the crisis that goes by the same name. But the fact is that 15 years after its introduction on 1 January 2002, the euro is still alive and kicking. What does the future hold for the single currency?
New test of resilience in super election year
The euro threatens to come under major pressure this year, De Standaard warns:
“The era of extremely low interest rates is coming to an end. Interest rates currently bear no relation to the level of state debt in many countries in the Eurozone. When the price of borrowing money rises, the question of who is in a position to pay it once again poses itself. When the financial crisis broke out, the markets had underestimated the determination of European leaders to defend the euro at all costs. But in the meantime this defence policy has been going on so long that it has come to be taken for granted. Perhaps the markets are now overestimating the stability of the protective construct. Moreover, in this important election year for Europe, the euro may prove to be the ideal target for those trying to convince voters that they can gain greater power over their own fate. The eagerness to support the currency with better agreements and structures has waned. ”
A common economic policy is still lacking
The anniversary of the introduction of the euro prompts El Mundo to once again call for a common EU economic and financial policy:
“Contrary to the forecasts of the pessimists the euro will not disappear, because unity continues to be the most viable course. But as we have warned many times, the project remains incomplete: a common currency requires a common economic policy. In this respect it is imperative that the member states press ahead with establishing a fiscal and financial union, because as we have seen, trying to control extremely disparate tax systems through a common monetary policy doesn't work. It is necessary to move towards a common banking framework and to create a European ministry of finance endowed with all the competencies that national treasuries have, including the power to issue government bonds.”