Letter: The nations of Europe can't survive alone

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The Independent Online
Sir: It would help to promote a greater understanding of the Euro- sceptic case (Letters, 20 September) if they would set out their constructive proposals against the following background.

Most major industrial companies in the UK strongly support the European Union and many of them support the single currency.

Europe accounts for some 30 per cent of world trade and has to operate with 14 different currencies. The United States, although only accounting for 20 per cent of world trade, has the advantage of the US dollar being used in 40 per cent of world trade. The US, Japan and China, with their large populations, each have a single currency and thus no foreign exchange costs within their own borders

World trade is increasingly concentrated in a number of regional blocs and it is with these that Europe must compete in the coming decades.

The future of the UK and the European Union in world trading depends critically on its expertise in high-technology manufacturing. This demands the highest possible skill levels, more investment and, above all, well- directed research and development. The swingeing cost of the latter is forcing more and more companies, which do not yet have a full European dimension in R&D, to link up with other companies.

The financial markets are assuming that the UK will not be in the single currency and believe that on our own we would be able neither to control inflation nor to maintain a strong currency. This has led to long-term interest rates in the UK being some 2 per cent above those in Germany.

The real question, I submit, is how can any European country survive on its own in the 21st century? The anti-Europeans owe us all an answer.

Sir HAROLD ATCHERLEY

Chairman, Suffolk and North Essex Branch, European Movement

Long Melford, Suffolk

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