The Euro Ark

The euro’s launch ten years ago this month was both a decisive political gesture and a highly ambitious economic project – one that has exceeded all expectations. In a world in which the challenges are increasingly global – and where size matters – Europe must approach the euro’s second decade with a redoubled spirit of ambition, determination, and cooperation.

BRUSSELS – The euro is celebrating its tenth anniversary against the background of the most difficult economic climate since its birth. The financial storm that swept in from the United States, and the onset of a severe economic downturn, confronts Europe with unprecedented challenges.

Faced with the biggest test in its history, the euro is far from steering into disaster, as the Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman predicted ten years ago. On the contrary, Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union is proving a major asset in these tumultuous times.

Doubters should remember that the euro was itself born out of crisis. The single currency was conceived as an answer to the upheavals of the postwar period – double-digit inflation, high unemployment, and speculative attacks on the pound, the lira, and the French franc. It was the crisis of the European Monetary System that drove the euro’s launch on January 1, 1999.

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