Following's Danish vote to opt out of the euro, and the articles in Saturday's Bulletin under Daily International, and Ray Fleming's Looking Around, have certainly given me and no doubt many others, food for thought. Hitherto, I was an advocate of the euro, having, not least in my business (real estate), to deal with so many different nationalities buying and selling, thus involving various currencies, the practicality of one unit in Europe was most commendable. I still basically believe in this, but with reservations. Sometimes the theory and ideals can outstrip the practicality. Taking aside the advantages or disadvantages of being in or out of the euro at present, taking a longer term view, there is one very worrying factor on the horizon. It is the proposed enlargement of the European Union, incorporating so many of those previous Eastern Bloc countries, plus others. Taking Germany as one example, I have seen that currency strengthen over the last 25 years or so. Now the currency is over three marks to the pound, and rising. More importantly, its lesser value to the $US would affect Germany's cost of buying oil, the essential moving force for everything in our lives. Some may say a cheaper mark improves their exports, but there was nothing wrong with their economy before the euro, and I wonder if a referendum held in Germany today would result in a Yes vote. However, the main worry, as said, is the new entries being planned. One of the reasons the euro (and the Deutch mark as well) has had to suffer, is to support some of the present weaker nations in the Union. Even the mighty mark can only help and support its fellow European nations up to a limit, and the future with new entries planned, is ominous. Whilst economic targets may be set for new countries' entry, idealists who can affect these issues, would no doubt let their heart rule their head, rush in to a euphoria-affected situation, to only see the results, financially, unfold in due course. Rules were already bent for some of the present members in the euro, and their economies were very much more healthy and productive than the proposed new ones. On the belittling of the Danish decision, due to their size/population as being unimportant, it should be remembered that the Swiss also voted to actually not join the EU, and their economy continues to thrive. In fact, a nation can still trade with its EU partners by keeping their own currency, pay the price in exports, which does have its run-on effects, but their oil and other imports will most certainly be cheaper - except possibly the UK where at present the tax man milks every situation and everybody with no end in sight!
So, as the Spanish say, every coin has two sides, and this particular one still needs some very careful inspection, and most certainly decisions made with the head rather than the heart. Everyone wants to see European nations rise upwards, hand in hand, helping each other to a better future, not dragged down to lower and financially dangerous levels, with all the resulting knock-on effects. Graham Phillips. Estate agent. Palma