|For instance, Uk firms currently spend about £1.5 billion a year buying and
selling foreign currencies to do business in the EU.
With the EMU this is eliminated, so increasing profitability of EU firms.
Advice to young people: You can go on holiday and not have to worry about getting your money changed, therefore avoiding high conversion charges.
Eu firms and households often find it difficult to accurately compare the
prices of goods, services and resources across the EU because of the
distorting effects of exchange rate differences.
This discourages trade. According to economic theory, prices should act as a mechanism to allocate resources in an optimal way, so as to improve economic efficiency. There is a far greater chance of this happening across an area where E.M.U exists.
Advice to young people: We can buy things without wrecking our brains trying to calculate what price it is in our currency.
|Many firms become wary when investing in other countries because of the uncertainty caused by the fluctuating currencies in the EU. Investment would rise in the EMU area as the currency is universal within the area, therefore the anxiety that was previously apparent is there no more.|
|Trade and everything else should operate more effectively and efficiently with the Euro. Single currency in a single market seems to be the way forward.|
|If we look out in the world today we can see strong currencies such as
the Japanese Yen and The American $.
America and Japan both have strong economies and have millions of
inhabitants. A newly found monetary union and a new currency in Europe
could be a rival to the "BIG TWO".
EMU can be self-supporting and so they could survive without trading with anyone outside the EMU area.
This fact makes the Euro very strong already, and even George Soros couldn't affect it (well, hopefully!!!!).
The situation that EMU is in is good as it seems that it can survive on its own, with or without the help of Japan and U.S.A.
|The EMU is, and will be a political project. It's founding is a step towards European integration, to prevent war in the union. It's a well known fact that countries who trade effectively together don't wage war on each other and if EMU means more happy trade, then this means, peace throughout Europe and beyond (we hope).|
|Proponents of the move argue that it brings considerable economic trade through the wiping out of exchange rate fluctuations, but as well as this it helps to lower costs to industry because companies will not have to buy foreign exchange for use within the EU. For them, EU represents the completion of the Single European Market. It is vital if Europe is to compete with the other large trading blocs of the Far East and North America.|
|There is also a political agenda to European bank (the European System of Central Banks -ESCB), the complete removal of national control over monetary policy and the partial removal of control over fiscal policy. Individual nation states will lose sovereignty (i.e. the ability to control their own affairs). It will be a considerble step down the road towards political union. There are many in the EU who faviour economica dn political union and they are very much in facour ot EMU. There are also many who wish to keep national sovereignty and are strugging to prevent EMU, whatever its merits might be, from going ahead.|
|From the mid-1980s onwards, there were a number of economists and politicians who argued that, for the UK at least, EMU provided the best way forward to achieve low inflation rates throughout the EU. During the first half of the 1980s high inflation countries, such as France and Italy were forced to adopt policies which reduced their inflation rates to something approximating the German inflation rates to something approximating the German inflation rate. If they had not done this, the franc and the lira would have had to be periodically devalued, negating the fixed exchange rate advantages of the system. Effectively, the German central bank, the Bundesbank, set inflation targets and therefore monetary targets for the rest of the EU. At the time, there was much discussion of why Germany had a better inflation record than many other European countries. The consensus emerged that it was because the Bundesbank, the German central bank, was independant of the German Government. In countries such as the UK and France, central banks were controlled by governments. If the UK government decided to loosen monetary policy, for example, by reducing interest rates, it had the power to order the Bank of England to carry out this policy on its behalf. There have always been especially strong pressures before an election for UK governments to loosen the monetary reins and create a boom in the economy, with the subsequent increase in inflation following the election. The Bundesbank, in contrast, was independent of government. By law it has a duty to maintain stable prices. It can resist pressures from the German government to pursue reflation policies if it believes that these will increase inflation within the economy. Events of the early 1990s have shaken the naieve faith that linkage to the independent ESBC, the central bank of Europe would solve all inflationary problems. This is because German inflation rates in the early 1990s rose to over 4% as Germany strugged with the consequences of unification. In 1993, inflation was nearly three times as high in Germany as in the UK and twice as high as that in France. Some countries, such as France, have made their central banks independent on the Germany model and therefore arguably don't need to the EMU link to Germany to maintained low inflation.The UK has gone a little way towards giving more power to the central bank by publishing reports of monthly meetings between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Governenor of the Bank of England. This forces the Government to justify its monetary policy publically and makes it harder for it to use interest rates for short term political ends.|
|Throughout most of the 1980s the UK refused to join the ERM (Exchange rate mechanism). It argued that it would be impossible to maintain exchange rate stability within the ERM, especially in the early 1980s when the pound was a petro-currency and when the UK inflation rate was consistently above that of Germany. When the UK joined the ERM in 1990 there had been three years of relative currency stability in Europe and it looked as though the system had become relatively robust. The events of Sept. 1992, when the UK and Italy were forced to leave the system, showed that the system was much less robust than had been thought.|
|Some economists argue that the trade and cost advantages of EMU have been grossly over estimated. There is little to be gained from moving from the present system which has some stability built into it, to the rigidities which EMU would bring.|
|On the political side, it is argued that an independent central bank is undemocratic. Governments must be able to control the actions of the central banks because Governments have been democratically elected by the people, whereas an independent central bank would be controlled by a non elected body. Moreover, there would be a considerable loss of sovereignty. Power would be transferred from London to Brussels. This would be highly undesirabel because national governments would lose the ability to control policy. It would be one more step down the road towards a Europe where Brussels was akin to Westminster and Westminster akin to a local authority.|
|Perhaps the most important economic argument relates to the deflationary
tendencies within the system. In the 1980s and 90's France succeeded
in reducing her inflation rates to German levels, but at the cost of
higher unemployent, For the UK, it can be aruged, that membership of the
ERM between 1990 and 1992 prolonged unnecessarily the recessional
period. This is because the adjustment mechanism acts rather like that
of the gold standard. Higher inflation in one ERM country means that
it is likely to generate current account deficits and put downward
pressure on its currency. To reduce the deficit and reduce inflation,
the country has to deflate its economy.
In the UK, it could be argued that the battle to bring down inflation
had been won by the time the UK joined the ERM in 1990. However, the UK
joined at too high an exchange rate. It was too high because the UK was
still running a large current account deficit at an exchange rate of
around 3 Dm to the pound. The UK government then spent the next two
years defending the value of the pound in the ERM with interest rates
which were too high to allow the economy to recover. Many forecasts
predicted that, had the UK not left the ERM in Sept 1992, inflation in
the UK in 1993 would have been negative (ie prices would have
fallen).The economic cost of this would have been continued unemployment
at 3million and a stagnant economy. When the UK did leave the ERM and
it rapidly cut interest rates from 10% to five and a half %, there was
strong economic growth and the current account position improved, but
there was an inflation cost.
Another problem that the early 1990s highlighted was that the needs of one part of Europe can have a negative impact on the rest of Europe. In the early 1990s, the Germans struggled with the economic consequences of German reunification. There was a large increase in spending in Germany with a consequent rise in inflation. The Bundesbank responded by raising German interest rates. As a result, there was an upward pressure on the DM as speculative money was attracted into Germany. Germansy's ERM partners were then forced to raise their interst rates to defend their currencies. However, higher interest rates forced most of Europe into recession in 1992 - 1993. Countries such as France couldn't then get out of recession by cutting interest rates because this would have put damaging strains on the ERM. The overall result was that Europe suffered a recession because of local reunification problems in Germany. Critics of the ERM and EMU argue that this could be repeated frequently if EMU were ever to be achieved. Local economies would suffer economic shocks because of policies, forced on them, designed to meet the problems of other parts of Europe.
One way around this would be to have large transfers of money from region to region when a local area experienced a recession, e.g. N. Ireland which suffered structural unemployment for most of the post war period, has had its economy propped up by large transfers of resources from richer areas of the UK with lower unemployment. However, regional transfers are very small at the moment unfortunately. Moreover to approximate the regional transfers which occur at the moment in, say, Britain, there would have to be a huge transfer of expenditures from national governments to Brussels - just what anti Europeans are opposed to.