Europeans Weigh Impact of Single EC Currency Economic Integration Will Make Day-to-Day Conduct of Business in Europe Easier

By Howard LaFranchi, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, November 14, 1990 | Go to article overview

Europeans Weigh Impact of Single EC Currency Economic Integration Will Make Day-to-Day Conduct of Business in Europe Easier


Howard LaFranchi, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


PHILIP Jenkinson may be British, but he lives in France, and as a business attorney he has clients in all 12 countries of the European Community.

For Mr. Jenkinson, the process of economic integration under way among the EC's 12 member states - a process that is gradually reducing inflation- and interest-rate disparities, and thus making for a more stable, Europewide economy - can't help but be good for business.

The eventual goal of a single EC currency, he says, will also make conducting business easier - right down to facilitating the traveling he must do to keep his clients informed and his business growing.

"Imagine setting out from Vermont on a business trip around New England," says the Lille attorney, "and having to remember to maintain three or four purses of different currencies."

The EC's single market is set to take full effect at the end of December 1992. Yet for people like Jenkinson, and for political leaders who want to see Europe's international economic influence enhanced, that is not enough.

EC leaders have thus decided to move forward with creating the economic and monetary tools that are still needed for the single market to develop its full potential. Last month in Rome, all heads of state but one - Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - agreed to a 1994 start for the next stage of the Community's economic integration.

As of that date, a European central bank similar to the United States' Federal Reserve System is to be set up, and steps for further reducing some still-wide discrepancies among EC economies are to be implemented.

Yet while the decision to push ahead on economic and monetary union - what is simply called EMU - has been taken, the details remain to be worked out.

This will be done at an intergovernmental conference set to begin Dec. 13 in Rome. The composition and governance of the "Eurofed," as the European Central Bank is already called, has been established. How it will work with national central banks, and when it should take over monetary responsibilities from them - has not.

"The decisions to be taken are mostly of a technical nature," says Daniel Gros, a senior research fellow at the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels. …

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