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British Warming to the Euro

The Conversion of the “Euroskeptics”


Panorama, (centrist newsmagazine), Milan, Italy, Nov. 2, 2001

Translated and posted to Worldpress.org Nov. 30, 2001

In two months the new unified currency will be a new reality for almost 300 million people. Starting from Jan. 1, 2001, euros will also land across the Channel. Whether or not the British like it, some big retail chains have decided to accept euros as ready money. And these big distribution chains have announced that in their various stores it will be possible to pay with the new European currency, as already happens with U.S. dollars. Among the big retailers participating in this initiative are Harrod's, Marks & Spencers, Dixons, Selfridges, and Virgin.

This initiative has taken place in order to make life easier for the thousands of tourists and students that invade British cities every year, but also the life of the many workers who commute between London and other European cities.

According to a survey conducted in October, 50 percent of Britons would be willing to renounce British pounds. This shift in desires and intentions is mainly due to the popularity of Tony Blair, who has recently returned to airing his support for the European unified currency.

But that's not all. According to the research conducted by Gartner Consulting and commissioned by NCR, a Japanese computer company, 73 percent of British retailers say they are "ready for the euro." 83 percent of those retailers will accept the unified currency as a means of payment and one third of those retailers will be even able to give change in euro. "A very positive sign," the Vice-President of NCR's European operations, Alberto Camuri, has remarked, "Because the retailers have understood the customers' point of view and problems, [they] have thus considered the euro more as an opportunity than as an inconvenience."

After all, according to the same survey, continental European tourists bring about £6 billion into the pockets of the British. And more than 50 percent of British shopkeepers say they are worried that they will lose continental customers, who might decide to go shopping in more euro-friendly shops
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