News and Research on Europe highlighting Robert Schuman's
political, economic, philosophical contribution from the independent Schuman
Project Directed by David H Price.
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Europe's democratic institutions
Biggest money challenge in history!
By David Heilbron Price © 20020128
all rights reserved.
changeover of twelve national currencies to a single European one –
the euro – has gone over ‘incredibly smoothly’. It was a
‘tremendous accomplishment.’ The words are from an outside observer
– the US Ambassador in Brussels, the European Union’s capital.
Behind the changeover of billions of euro bank notes and coins lies
decades of effort to stabilize currencies and shrink government debt.
said Ambassador Rockwell Schnabel, the USA and the European Union
represent half of world commerce. That astounding statistic brings with
it heavy responsibilities as well as unprecedented wealth. Jump-starting
the world economy was a pre-condition for solving the problems of
poverty, he said. Reform of the capital markets was essential for
complexity and breadth of the changes in Europe from January 1, 2002 can
be judged by simple comparisons. The euro zone population of over 300
millions is far bigger than the USA. That is the most important
criterion when it is a matter of swapping coins and notes in people’s
pockets. That population is equivalent to the whole world population at
the time of the Roman Empire. Imagine the complexities of making the
changeover then – and all in a few weeks! Yet, as a US diplomat
admitted, a little shame-facedly, most Americans were completely unaware
of the monetary drama and success just across the Atlantic. Many who
consider themselves to be well-educated Americans are not even sure were
power bring responsibility. There are two immediate lessons for the
Atlantic Community. First we have to really get to understand each other
better. We need to work together at that by creating better institutions
and means for human contact and education. America cannot act as an
island. The European states have learned that they are all
interdependent. This realisation stopped its incessant wars and brought
a strategy for prosperity. Secondly we should direct that
institution-building process to make sure – for once – that the
Atlantic Community is dealing with the most urgent world problems: debt,
poverty, de-humanisation of a burgeoning world population, ignorance.
shouldn’t be dazzled by money. The events of September 11 had cost
‘far more’ than a trillion dollars. They were perpetrated with
dollar box knives. The Atlantic Community is only a tenth of the
world’s population. Yet it represents the world’s hope for values of
democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
This is our
chance to decide a global history. Let’s give it our best values!
Heilbron Price runs the Schuman Project, researching the history and
trends of the European Union at www.schuman.info.