LETTER:Plans for the ecu

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The Independent Online
From Mr Mark Hendrick, MEP

Sir: I was somewhat disappointed by the negative reaction of the press yesterday to the unveiling of plans for the single currency by Commissioner de Silguy.

The hype over loss of sovereignty is, in my opinion, greatly exaggerated and based on outdated ideas of economic independence in Europe and the preservation of national identity, rather than on sensible economic arguments. A single currency is crucial to consolidating the single European market and creating monetary stability in Europe, so that Europe can play in the economic premier league with North America and Japan.

The reality of interdependence of Europe's economies means that Britain can no longer forge an independent monetary policy anyway. Furthermore, the ecu would not mean a loss of national identity either, as the proposed coins would most probably still retain national characteristics - such as the head of the Queen in Britain.

This will be the most momentous step in the history of the European economy since the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, and once again, Britain is hesitant. As Europe flies into the next century Britain should be a co-pilot, but risks being left in the departure lounge.

Yours sincerely,


MEP for Lancashire Central (Lab)

European Parliament

Strasbourg, France

31 May

The writer is Labour spokesperson on Economic and Monetary Affairs in Europe.