Europe has chosen to mark the new millennium by embarking on an ambitious plan to forge a monetary alliance between a broad spread of countries. Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) has created a powerful new global economic block which, if successful, will come to be viewed as the most significant achievement at the turning point of the millennium.
Failure has not been contemplated, and there is no provision either for an individual country to withdraw or for the system as a whole to be dismantled. Yet a number of economists question its viability. Should they prove to be correct, the collapse of EMU would be a financial armageddon.
This historic development is the issue of our time; it affects the everyday lives of not only all those people living in the participating countries, but also
anyone who does business in these countries.
Given its potential impact, there is very little comprehension about its full import for both the European community and the world at large.
In this book we explore the real dynamics of monetary union. EMU in Perspective is not a checklist for euro preparedness; it aims to provide a deeper insight and understanding into this vast economic experiment and an analysis of the political forces shaping the single currency. This, we hope, will enable the reader to evaluate how it is progressing and hence reach better informed decisions.
The path towards monetary union has been a long and extremely winding one, with many a setback along the way, but if we understand where it has come from, we will be better placed to understand where it is going.