Letter: Devaluation is a fool's paradise

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Sir: In an otherwise enjoyable article ("Singled out: the case for going in", 3 April), you fail to provide an adequate rebuttal of the Eurosceptic argument that inside a single currency the British government would "hand over control of monetary policy to Europe" (the Case for Staying Out). In so doing, you perfectly illustrate that the pro-European majority in Britain has been forced onto the defensive over the issue of sovereignty.

It is vital that the debate over EMU is conducted in a way relating to the world as it is, not as some would like to remember it. With an increasingly globalised economy, the abandonment of the assumption that governments can "manage" their economies ought to be accompanied by the discrediting of the idea that national sovereignty over economic policy is genuinely possible.

In reality, far from being an abrogation of sovereignty, British participation in EMU can only result in creating a wider European sovereignty over the European economy. The current situation whereby British interest rates are set by the actions of the Bundesbank would be replaced by a situation where Britain had equal status in the European central bank, giving us the opportunity to participate in the setting of our interest rates.

As for retaining the option of devaluation, you are right to imply that this is a fool's paradise. Devaluation is simply a facade behind which people can shy away from carrying out required economic reforms, as well as providing scant incentive for trade unions to exercise restraint in wage bargaining. It must surely be obvious by now that the most successful economies are those that do not devalue.

If those who oppose British participation in EMU have concluded that Britain's future lies in continued devaluation, they should surely rethink their position.

Spencer Livermore

London N4

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