20 years of the euro: a blessing or a curse?
Twenty years ago the euro was introduced as bank money and three years later people could pay with it in cash. Europe's debt crisis put the euro to the test. Commentators look to the future of the common currency with mixed feelings.
Common currency needs homogeneity
The reality of the common currency has certainly not lived up to the high hopes at its inception in the opinion of Die Welt.
“The promise of the founding fathers that the euro club would grow swiftly was undoubtedly fulfilled. But this is precisely the problem. The common currency now connects 19 extremely different countries which do not fit together either economically or culturally. ... But the euro can only function if all of them stick to the common rules and the member states remain in a more or less homogeneous situation and grow at the same rate. Too great an anomaly upwards or downwards won't work in a monetary union, otherwise it becomes tricky to hold the house together. ... The euro will not withstand another twenty years of manoeuvring around.”
A bulwark against populism
The euro has become an unexpected success story, writes Les Echos:
“Who would have imagined that the single currency, which back then was decried as the product of a despised technocracy, would become the most stable political defence mechanism of an EU threatened by populism? Praise be to the euro, for it is now Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini's worst nightmare. It is the dam against which their despicable nationalist discourse inevitably shatters. ... And this success places a great responsibility on the shoulders of Europe's current leaders. The responsibility to complete the work begun by their predecessors.”
Next euro crisis on the cards
The stability of the euro continues to be threatened, comments former finance minister Ivan Mikloš in Sme:
“First the Italians, now the French finance minister has been to Brussels to discuss raising the deficit to 3.2 percent - in response to the yellow vest protests. The euro is too strong for the weak south and too weak for the strong north... The majority of analysts are expecting a global recession in the next year or two. Then there is the danger of an impending trade war. For the eurozone this will be a battle of life and death. If it does survive, then it will certainly emerge looking very different. The key lies in two things: in the results of the EU elections and in the success of Macron's reforms. Interesting times lie ahead.”