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From the March 2002 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 49, No. 3)

Viewpoints

The Advent of the Euro


Views from seven newspapers in seven countries

Auckland The New Zealand Herald (centrist), Dec. 29: Even the euro’s champions say coordination at present is pitiful. And many of them secretly doubt whether the pact is any better than moral persuasion at forcing spendthrift governments to toe the line....The question is: Will this hankering for a beloved national symbol pass, as consumers see the benefits of a single currency? Or could it snowball into deep resentment, something that could block or even reverse the process of European unity?
—Catherine Field

Sofia Sega (liberal), Jan. 5: Weep for the Finns! A can of Coke in their country costs three times as much as the same one in Madrid, while a standard French auto is 50 percent more expensive. Now, when goods are measured by a single European currency in all 12 EU member states, the price differences are becoming apparent....But for the euro-zone people, the advent of the new currency may amount to a miracle, because it is the first step to price uniformity, to a complete economic and even political integration....So, the euro-show goes on.
—Krasimir Tsigularov

Accra The Mirror (government-owned weekly), Jan. 12: Have African leaders taken note of events in Europe? Africa is the poorest and the least developed continent that would benefit a lot from the harnessing of resources. But it seems most of the countries are [too] divided on colonial or ideological lines to worry themselves about pooling resources and working toward integration. At the time that rich and powerful nations of Europe are celebrating a common currency, African countries are being torn apart by conflicts. Her leaders do not have any vision and are more engrossed in schemes that would keep them in perpetual power.
—Kofi Akordor

Frankfurt Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (conservative), Jan. 13: [The euro] won’t help Europe out of its current economic misery, although this is what a lot of people are currently hoping....In light of the still unfavorable economic situation across the globe, 2002 is likely to be another weak year in the euro zone.
—Dorit Feldbrügge

Riga The Baltic Times (weekly newspaper), Jan. 10-16: The introduction of the euro caused few waves in the Baltic states, but did raise questions about the countries’ future entry to the EU. With Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia all hoping to join the EU by 2004—just in time for the 2005 parliamentary elections—all three are facing their own euro introduction in 2006. All 10 candidate countries are getting a preview of how replacing their own currencies might work, while the EU is solidifying its stance on requiring all new entrants to accept the euro as their tender.

Madrid El País (liberal), Jan. 18: Anti-Europeans are wrong in their deprecation of the euro process and European integration because they are afraid of losing national identity, or because they do not want to renounce age-old hegemonic pretensions....Either we are weak with dispersion and confrontation, or we are strong within the Union. We need to remember that the euro is an instrument for this project, a tool, not an aim in itself; and it is not a “golden calf.”
—Felipe González

London The Independent (centrist), Jan. 1: The British electorate will only be persuaded that adopting the euro is a good idea if someone persuades them....This year must therefore be...the year in which the prime minister and his chancellor at last hold an adult conversation with the British people about why the euro will be good, not just for their pockets but for their souls.


 
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