TEN YEARS AGO today, we got a shiny new currency. While we could continue to proffer punts until 9 February 2002, from 1 January that year the ATMs and bank tellers would only dispense euro.
A decade on… there are growing fears for the stability of the currency. Even as 25 of the EU countries (not just those in the eurozone) are preparing to sign up to a new fiscal agreement this coming year, the euro recorded a record low against the yen and was almost at its weakest in an entire year against the dollar. (Scary graph is courtesy of the European Central Bank):
The Wall Street Journal, however, had reassuring words from some markets analysts who said on Friday that the drop was still “modest” considering the bad rap the euro is getting at the moment. And German chancellor Angela Merkel vowed in her New Year’s address to save the euro if she possibly could (although she also warned the EU nations would have to work better together than they have been doing up until now).
It all seemed so much more hopeful 10 years ago though. We even had a Eurovision singer (Rosa for Spain) singing an ode to the euro in her entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. Called ‘Europe is living a celebration’, the song came seventh.
Just for the sake of nostalgia…