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Economic Interests and Public Support for the Euro
Unformatted Document Text:  1 Introduction On January 1, 2009, the start of the third stage of European Monetary Union (EMU) will celebrate its tenth anniversary. More significantly perhaps, the actual introduction of the euro on January 1, 2002 marks an even more important milestone in the history of EMU. With a full six years in circulation (seven by January 1, 2009), the euro has now settled into the minds and markets of more than half of the 27 EU member states. After a somewhat rocky start in terms of its value, the euro has strongly rebounded to be considered a viable alternative global reserve currency and competitor to the dollar. Moreover, despite continued British reservations to its own membership, the eurozone has expanded eastward to include Slovenia in 2007 (first among former regions under communist rule – an important symbolic step) and southward in 2008 to include Malta and Cyprus. Additional central and eastern European member states look to join in the near future (Estonia, the Czech Republic, and even Slovakia) or within the next five years. Despite these facts, the mood with the European Union is not quite as robust. The negative outcomes of the referendums on the constitution in France and the Netherlands, coupled with the somewhat awkward negotiations to revising the constitution into a reform treaty, the EU’s enlargement perhaps on hold for the future, and cloudy or mixed economic picture for the eurozone economy, suggest difficult times ahead for the European Union project. By the time of the negative referendums on the EU constitutions in 2005, the euro had bounced back in value considerably. Currently, general support for the EU seems to be rebounding as well. Moving on from the Dutch and French no votes, support for the EU is at its highest level since 1994 with 58 percent of EU citizens responding that they think EU membership is a good thing. In both the Netherlands and France, support is above the EU average with

Authors: Banducci, Susan., Karp, Jeffrey. and Loedel, Peter.
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1
Introduction

On January 1, 2009, the start of the third stage of European Monetary Union
(EMU) will celebrate its tenth anniversary. More significantly perhaps, the actual
introduction of the euro on January 1, 2002 marks an even more important milestone
in the history of EMU. With a full six years in circulation (seven by January 1, 2009),
the euro has now settled into the minds and markets of more than half of the 27 EU
member states. After a somewhat rocky start in terms of its value, the euro has
strongly rebounded to be considered a viable alternative global reserve currency and
competitor to the dollar. Moreover, despite continued British reservations to its own
membership, the eurozone has expanded eastward to include Slovenia in 2007 (first
among former regions under communist rule – an important symbolic step) and
southward in 2008 to include Malta and Cyprus. Additional central and eastern
European member states look to join in the near future (Estonia, the Czech Republic,
and even Slovakia) or within the next five years.
Despite these facts, the mood with the European Union is not quite as robust.
The negative outcomes of the referendums on the constitution in France and the
Netherlands, coupled with the somewhat awkward negotiations to revising the
constitution into a reform treaty, the EU’s enlargement perhaps on hold for the future,
and cloudy or mixed economic picture for the eurozone economy, suggest difficult
times ahead for the European Union project. By the time of the negative referendums
on the EU constitutions in 2005, the euro had bounced back in value considerably.
Currently, general support for the EU seems to be rebounding as well. Moving on
from the Dutch and French no votes, support for the EU is at its highest level since
1994 with 58 percent of EU citizens responding that they think EU membership is a
good thing. In both the Netherlands and France, support is above the EU average with


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