THE EURO: A PEACEFUL REVOLUTION
Director of press and Public Affairs
European Union, Delegation of the European Commission
Like it or not, January 1, 1999 will remain in history as a day upon which a revolution-albeit a peaceful one-took place: a new currency was born. The Euro's birth had been preceded by skepticism, sometimes even ridicule, among many observers, especially in the USA: "Those Europeans, again, will not be able to deliver."
Well, the Euro is here, alive and kicking!
Moreover, not only did we deliver, but at a very fast pace: the European Economic and Monetary Union was launched in 1990. Its ultimate goal, a single new European currency, has been achieved in only nine years.
After all, the dollar was not adopted overnight: seventy-six years after the U.S. Constitution was written, in 1863 the U.S. Congress passed the National Bank Act, which paved the way for the United States' single currency.
But let us not indulge in useless squabble. In reality, the Euro has already made life easier for many a U.S. traveler in Europe. Using credit cards or travelers' cheques, no one has to worry anymore about exchange rates among national currencies inside the eleven-country-wide "Euroland."
The next big step-apart from having all fifteen European countries adhere to the Euro-will be the arrival of some 50 billion Euro-coins and 12 billion Euro-notes to land in citizens' pockets. January 1, 2002 is the deadline.
Enjoy the exhibition!