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European Identity and EMU

Hausarbeit 2004 10 Seiten

Leseprobe

Europe is coming closer together, this is shown in many parts of daily life. It is often argued that money is one of the best-known and most effective tools in symbolising the “united Europe”, the EU. Most of the member states of the European Union who matched the criteria of the Growth and Stability Pact seem to have agreed to this and joined the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as soon as it was introduced. But why were there some who decided not to exchange their national currency in favour for the common European one? Did they not feel an affinity with other Europeans? Did they not see that all Europeans are part of a community which is trying to express its unity through a common currency? Or did they not view the Euro ideologically, but rationally? And if they did what does this tell us about their European Identity? In short, is it necessary to join the Economic and Monetary Union to be a European? This article tries to answer these questions by looking for reasons why Denmark, The United Kingdom and Sweden decided not to accept the Euro, in particular looking for similarities, and their relation to the development of a single European Identity.

Looking for the obvious, it might be argued that Denmark, The United Kingdom and Sweden all have one similarity, in that they all have royalty. One can assume that monarchies are more hostile to transnational institutions than republics but this can be proved wrong, as the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg, all countries with royalty, were three of the six founding members of the EC/EU. Hymans (The Changing Color of Money, 2004) provides evidence that there is a connection between the time when a country joined the EU and their ability to accept supranational cultural norms and therefore supranational institutions. The division made here is between the founding member states of the EC/EU and those who joined later without consideration of the aspect of monarchies or republics.

A better insight might be obtained by examining the history of the countries. The most striking fact in the history of these three countries is that they never where that closely attached to the rest of Europe. The UK has in the most part always been close to the USA, whereas Denmark and Sweden envisage themselves as part of the Scandinavian Community. After the Second World War, Germany and France created a “united Europe”, the EC, from neighbouring “mainland” states but failed to include either of the above-mentioned three countries. The Nordic countries orientated themselves more towards the world power Russia, which can be seen in the fact that all Scandinavian parliaments had communist representatives until the 1980’s.

Whilst Sweden and Denmark looked towards the world power Russia, the UK reinforced their relationship with the USA. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union neither Sweden nor Denmark related strongly to the EU as they have the “tendency to look west rather than south.” (EU Business, Is Scandinavia too democratic for the European good?, 2003) meaning they orientate themselves towards the UK and the USA. These attitudes towards a “united Europe” are evident in the dates that Denmark, The United Kingdom and Sweden joined the EC/EU. Since the UK and Denmark joined 20 years after the EC’s foundation in 1952 and Sweden only joined in 1995. Part of the explanation for this could be that they tried to keep their independence for as long as possible but saw certain advantages in joining the EU, for example the Common Market.

It is a striking fact that the decisions not to join the EMU were made via a referendum in two of the three cases. Whilst the Danish and the Swedish governments supported membership of the EMU, the people declared that they were against it. This would support the thesis of Shore (Creating the People’s Europe, 2000) that the European Union is an elite project that was built on a “permissive consensus” (Daniela Obradovic, Policy legitimacy and the European Union, 1996). According to Shore the EC/EU was build by the elitists, who imposed “European values” on the masses. This was accepted as long as the decisions made in Brussels did not relate directly to “European citizens”. Now that the decisions of the European Union effect the daily lives of the people, they have voted against it in a referendum. These referendums show that the European Union as well as the EMU are considered to be interfering with a subject that is not in their reach. This is to be seen in contrast to the decisions made by the government, which are more widely to respected.

People want to keep their national currency because it is part of their national identity. Each country has its own past and part of it is the national currency that developed alongside. Since identity is the product of a shared history the vote against the euro shows that they have not developed a sense of common history yet and therefore only a weak European identity. Without this awareness of Europeaness people are reluctant to give up part of their national identity, the national currency.

In the UK it is even more striking how much the national identity is favoured over the European one, although they have not even had a referendum yet. Whilst the majority of the British people are against the Euro, the British government is clearly in favour of the membership of the EMU “as soon as it is beneficial to the UK and its economy” (Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 2003). Therefore, the British government developed five tests called the Treasury Studies which are concerned with the economic effects, which becoming a member of the EMU, would have.

“Are business cycles and economic structures compatible so that we and others could live comfortably with euro interest rates on a permanent basis? If problems emerge is there sufficient flexibility to deal with them? Would joining the EMU create better conditions for firms making long-term decisions to invest in Britain? What impact would entry into EMU have on the competitive position of the UK’s financial services industry, particularly the City’s wholesale markets? In summary, will joining the EMU promote higher growth, stability and a lasting increase in jobs?” (Treasury Studies, The five tests framework, 2003)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Zusammenfassung


Europe is coming closer together, this is shown in many parts of daily life. It is often argued that money is one of the best-known and most effective tools in symbolising the “united Europe”, the EU. Most of the member states of the European Union who matched the criteria of the Growth and Stability Pact seem to have agreed to this and joined the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as soon as it was introduced. But why were there some who decided not to exchange their national currency in favour for the common European one? Did they not feel an affinity with other Europeans? Did they not see that all Europeans are part of a community which is trying to express its unity through a common currency? Or did they not view the Euro ideologically, but rationally? And if they did what does this tell us about their European Identity? In short, is it necessary to join the Economic and Monetary Union to be a European? This article tries to answer these questions by looking for reasons why Denmark, The United Kingdom and Sweden decided not to accept the Euro, in particular looking for similarities, and their relation to the development of a single European Identity.
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Details

Seiten
10
Jahr
2004
ISBN (eBook)
9783638368858
ISBN (Buch)
9783640877560
DOI
10.3239/9783638368858
Dateigröße
429 KB
Sprache
Englisch
Institution / Hochschule
Universiteit Maastricht
Erscheinungsdatum
2005 (April)
Note
English: 6,5 out of 10

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Titel: European Identity and EMU