The European elections will soon be upon us, and with them will come a barrage of argument about the “single currency”. It is unlikely this issue will be presented in anything other than extreme terms, with one side claiming that without it we cannot remain in the EU, and their rivals equally adamant that its advent would destroy what is left of British sovereignty. Unfortunately, the “anti” side are nearer the truth. The use of the term “single currency” is in itself a warning that there is more behind it than might at first seem.
Few people would take exception to a proposal for a “common currency”, as a token of international exchange to be used for convenience alongside of national currencies. But the single currency is an entirely different beast; it is indivisible from the European Central Bank that would issue and control it; indeed, the question is not one of do we want a single currency, but one of whether we want a single EuroCentral Bank which will dictate the single economic policy to be applied throughout the entire EU. One need only look across the UK to see the problems that would bring, but to a much more serious degree. For example, both Scotland and the North of England have long felt that economic policy coming via Britain’s central bank, the Bank of England, is generally biased towards the interests of the Home Counties, and more specifically those of the City of London. If such conflict of economic needs can exist within the comparatively compact and homogenous UK, how much worse would it be with one policy imposed across the entire, very diversified European continent?
The reality is that the ECB’s decisions will have an enormous effect on British monetary policy and to pretend otherwise is absurd.
( M.J. Littlewood, Head of Regional Campaigning, European Movement, London)
The fact remains, we do unquestionably have both the power and the right to change and reform the Bank of England. That would not be so with a EuroCentral Bank. Already those setting it up have loftily informed the governments of France and Germany that the bank is autonomous, and will not take orders from the EU parliament. This pretty well destroys the argument put forward by those in favour of a “federal” EU superstate, when they claim we should pass yet more of our sovereignty to the EU parliament so that it may control the Central Bank and the European economy. Ignoring propaganda, common-sense tells us that whatever body controls the money and the economic policy, also firmly lays down the parameters within which all other social and political policies must operate. Such a continent-wide straight-jacket, precluding economic and political diversity, surely cannot be in the interests of democracy. Nor is monetary union a prerequisite for European co-operation — we have that anyway; on the contrary, it could sow the seeds of future conflict…..
Third Way policy is no to the European Central Bank, no to a single currency, ok to a common currency, and yes to European co-operation and confederation on as voluntarist a basis as possible.