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Euro Fantasies: Common Currency as Panacea

The map of Europe is featured on a two Euro coin, December 3, 2011. Tony Gentile / Reuters

For nearly 50 years, Europe has been on a course of ever-widening and -deepening integration. For just as long, Germany has been building a reputation as the global champion of hard money to which the deutsche mark stands as its monument. The proposed monetary union to create a common currency in Europe joins these two strands: Europe gets German monetary integrity, and Germany blends into Europe.

The Maastricht Treaty, concluded in December 1991, is the pre nuptial agreement for this marriage. However, on the way to union doubts loom larger than joy. Still in question are the benefits to be derived, the suitability of the partners, and relations with outside parties. These questions are particularly acrimonious because the tight timetable (see p. 112) for converting to a common currency destroys illusions, as does Europe's poor economic performance. Europe has 18 million unemployed, and no one knows what to do with them. German Chancellor Helmut

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