Blog: Dave LeggettSweden's no to the euro

Dave Leggett | 15 September 2003

I was a little surprised that the Swedes voted to stay out of the euro currency, mainly because they always come across as 'good Europeans' (unlike, say, the more maverick Danes). But there were some telling remarks from the European Central Bank's chief last week that heap further doubt on the operation of the single currency. Wim Duisenberg laid into national governments - principally the French and the Germans - for failing to abide by the bank's budget deficit rules. Germany and France are set to exceed the budget deficit limit of 3% of GDP yet again in 2004. Both countries plan to stimulate their sluggish economies via tax cuts, but are not planning to reduce public spending accordingly. Duisenberg claimed that the lack of fiscal discipline is now 'weighing adversely' on the region's long-term growth prospects. The European Commission last week cut its economic growth forecast for the EU in 2003 to 0.5% from 0.7%. Duisenberg also warned that the EU is falling behind in attempts to liberalise markets and become more globally competitive. Maybe the euro is not such a great thing after all. Something to think about Mr Blair. And the pro-euro camp at Ford for that matter.

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