Letter: Parallel currency for Europe

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Sir: In your leading article on "Britain and Europe" (3 June) you say that "the single currency cannot be run without a single European economic policy alongside it. Monetary policy and fiscal policy cannot be disentangled."

With the current concept of a single Euro-currency as the only currency that would be legal tender in any EU member state your view is hard to challenge and has drawn support in your letters pages - although it seems mainly from Labour MPs who perhaps see preserving all the prerogatives of state spending as more central to their political philosophy.

If we accept this concern over who has control of national fiscal policies whilst at the same time believing that there would be some virtues in a common currency (as would most European businessmen who operate in more than one member state) perhaps the pro-Europeans should work up a proposal for a parallel common currency.

Such a parallel currency would have a status not dissimilar to gold in previous centuries as being an elective medium of trade. It would need to be freely exchangeable against all major EU and EU trading partner currencies. With echoes of some of the practices of foreign companies coping with hyperinflation in South America, businesses would be free to choose local or common currency for their pricing, payroll, dividends, bank deposits and the presentation of their accounts. Individuals would be able to have local and/or common currency bank accounts.

A parallel common currency sidesteps a sterile win/lose debate and has the advantage of increasing the democratic choices available to the peoples of the EU. It cannot be a bad thing if, at least in one aspect of our lives, our politicians will have to bid for our allegiance not once every five years, but every day.


Reading, Berkshire