What Should We Do about European Monetary Union?

By Abbott, Ian | Teaching Business & Economics, Autumn 1999 | Go to article overview

What Should We Do about European Monetary Union?


Abbott, Ian, Teaching Business & Economics


INTRODUCTION

The preceding article is the second Economics Update published in Teaching Business and Economics about the Euro and European Monetary Union (EMU) in recent months. Membership of a single currency continues to dominate economic and political debate in the UK.

Strong opinions are held by both sides and there is considerable disagreement amongst Economists. For example the article by Nigel Healey in the Spring edition of the journal was broadly in favour of Britain joining the EMU. Whilst the current article, by Brian Kettle, outlines a more negative view of the Euro and explores some of the consequences if monetary union in Europe fails.

STUDENT DEBATE

The two articles can be used together to stimulate discussion and debate amongst students. A useful briefing sheet for an EMU debate was also provided in the Spring edition of Teaching Business and Economics. The supporting material and other resources such as the excellent book by Huhne and Forder (1999) can be utilised to get student groups to participate in a debate to consider whether Britain should join the European Monetary Union.

A CHANGING APPROACH

A final decision on Britain's membership of EMU will only be made after a referendum of the electorate. However, there are signals that the Labour government's support for British entry into a single currency is growing. The foreign secretary, Robin Cook, speaking in Tokyo at a bilateral trade promotion in early September 1999 strongly supported the Euro and claimed that the single currency was:

"providing a major stimulus to economic restructuring within the Euro zone"and that citizens in countries which had already signed up for the Euro were receiving "real benefits of immediate relevance. …

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