Monday, 21 December 2009
The Euro Arrives (2002)
I never liked the Franc. It was an ugly currency with denominations that were just too large. With the ‘ancien franc’ it was even worse - in 1959 a single baguette cost 38 Francs! The updated and slimmed down 'nouveau franc' came into force way back in 1960, but when I arrived in France in the 90s people were still continuing to refer to prices in ‘anciens francs’. Incredibly this even included people who had not even been born when the ‘ancien franc’ was in circulation! Clearly something had to be done, and I for one was delighted when the Euro came into force on January 1st 2002.
Naturally enough, people were initially flumoxed and many believe that the introduction of the currency provoked an inflation that fed on this confusion. Others see this Europe-wide currency as a symbol of rampant capitalism, introduced only to facilitate trade, but I view it more as a fantastic symbol of unity amongst peoples. Today Paris is aligned with Brussels, Berlin, Rome and Madrid, places I can visit with the same notes and coins in my pockets.
My only regret – and source of shame – is that my country of origin, the UK, hasn’t adopted the currency. Today it is the Pound that looks ugly and small-minded, a symbol of the country’s disunity with the rest of Europe. I still dare to dream though, that one day the Euro will cross the Channel, and that the contents of my wallet will no longer get all mixed up each time I take the Eurostar.
Posted by Adam at Monday, December 21, 2009