EMU – the flightless bird? No, it’s European Monetary Union and the Euro (the name of the currency to replace national currencies among the eleven participating member states) and they are coming to Europe beginning January 1, 1999. EMU is perhaps the most historic leap of integration in the history of Europe. Some argue that EMU will either make the dream of a united Europe a reality or smash Europe on the rocks of national interest and conflict. We shall see.

We should know that EMU has been a recurring ambition of the European Union since the late 1960’s. EMU promises both currency stability and a strong advance towards the integration of Europe. The promises (and advantages) of EMU and the Euro are indeed powerful and will be tangible for both business and consumer. Lower prices, greater competition, more jobs, and greater transparency in business and commerce are perhaps worth the EMU effort.

But giving up one’s national currency, a symbol of pride, national identity, and, for some countries, a source of international power and influence (the German Deutsche Mark, the French franc, and the British Pound, for example), is a difficult thing to do. The British, for now, have said no thank you. Imagine, U.S. citizens giving up the mighty dollar for some new currency linked to Canada and Mexico – say the "Dollso." I think many of us would also say no thank you. There are other problems as well – including the lack of a centralized budgetary authority for Europe as well as regional "stabilizers" for parts of Europe left behind by EMU.

For the now, the experiment is underway. Visit some of these websites for excellent information and links to the world of the Euro.


This site from the European Union Delegation has all the most recent legislation, speeches, documents related to the Euro.

This site from the Europa server provides a specific link to five-six of the best Euro links on the web. Check this out for good info on the Euro.

This is the European Parliament’s specific site on the Euro. Check this site out to get position papers and opinions of the EP on the Euro.

This is the European Monetary Institute’s web site. The EMI is now the European Central Bank. They are an excellent repository of official documents and opinions of the monetary lords of Europe. Good links to other central banks, etc.