Thu, 25 Sep 2003

Sweden's rejection of the euro

Deep down, even the most fanatical supporters of the euro must now recognize that it isn't going to happen. Their two main contentions -- that the euro is inevitable, and that Britain is too small to go it alone -- have been blown away by Sweden's "nej."

The British, Swedish and Danish opt-outs now look permanent. The question is no longer, "Will Britain join the euro?" or even, "Should Britain join the euro?", but, "Given that Britain is not joining the euro, what kind of relationship should we forge with our neighbors?"

All three parties need to do some muscular thinking about this for, at present, our foreign policy is built on a falsehood. Central to Britain's diplomacy is the notion that, by "leading in Europe," we can make the EU more receptive to our needs, and so amplify our power in the world. Yet, whatever the pretensions of our successive leaders, it is clear that the British people have no desire to "lead in Europe" if that means surrendering their currency and diminishing their independence. The way in which British Europhiles disregard this reality is, in its way, awesome. What part of "no" don't they understand? ...

-- Daily Telegraph, London