The euro conversation questions
- What is your opinion of the euro? Has it helped countries or given them problems?
- What advantages was the euro expected to deliver?
- What advantages has the euro, in fact, delivered?
- Why do countries want to join the eurozone?
- What impact do you think the euro had on inflation when it was introduced?
- If you live in a country which has adopted the euro - do people still use the old currency to talk about the price of houses?
- The main economies in the Eurozone are Germany and France. Some claim that the European Central Bank designs its interest rate policies to mainly help these two countries - and the rest of the Eurozone simply has to put up with it. What is your opinion?
- Some countries within the Eurozone have become less competitive - their goods cost more to produce than those of their competitors. One thing that causes this to happen is high salaries. In the past countries could get round this problem by devaluing their currencies, but within the Eurozone this isn't possible. What actions can such countries now take to become more competitive?
- Should poor countries which break the rules be expected to pay really high fines? If not, what other sanction could be imposed?
Leaving the euro
- People increasingly speculate about the possibility of countries leaving the euro. If a country were to leave the euro tomorrow or next month - what would it use for money?
- Why would a country wish to leave the Eurozone?
- If a country breaks the Eurozone rules should it be forced out of the euro?
- According to European treaties it would take about two years for a country to leave the euro. Would this really solve any short-term problems?
- If you were a rich person who lived in a country which said it was going to leave the euro and devalue its currency, what would you do with the euros you had in the bank?
- In mid 2010 speculation began to be heard about the possible break-up of the euro. What do you think would be the consequences of the euro breaking up for (a) individual countries (b) the European Union (c) the wider world?
Before the euro's difficulties began some countries, and especially the UK, were sceptical of the euro. These are some of the arguments they used. What do you think of them?
- In the UK some people maintained that they should retain the pound sterling because they had used it for hundreds of years and they wanted to keep this tradition and not have something external imposed on them. Was the opposition to the euro important to the Brexit vote?
- It is claimed that Eurozone policies - and especially the interest rate - are set mainly for the convenience of Germany and France and that being able to set an interest rated independently is useful.
- If a country which is not in the euro becomes uncompetitive it can find ways to devalue its currency in order to to regain competitiveness "painlessly". Within the euro this is impossible.
- A country which is not in the eurozone has the option of "printing money" as a worst-case scenario.
- Eurozone countries have no real way to force another country to comply with Eurozone standards. Thus if one country in the Eurozone overspends and this damages the stability of the euro then other countries have no choice other than to bail out that country and pay its debts.