On this day in 2002 the currencies of 11 participating European countries were cancelled as legal tender marking the official start of the Euro as the sole Eurozone currency. Nothing on such a scale had been attempted before.
Many of the smaller member countries felt an immediate benefit. Whether the Euro remains at all is still an open question. Brexit means that Britain is soon to be a notable European outsider.
In retrospect, past governments seem to have acted wisely in staying out of the Euro altogether and Sterling remains a strong and manageable currency worldwide.
Today’s poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti is suitably titled On a Handful of French Money:
These coins that jostle on my hand do own
No single image: each name here and date
Denoting in man’s consciousness and state
New change. In some, the face is clearly known, –
In others marred. The badge of that old throne
Of Kings is on the obverse; or this sign
Which says, “I France am all – lo, I am mine!”
Or else the Eagle that dared soar alone.
Even as these coins, so are these lives and years
Mixed and bewildered; yet hath each of them
No less its part in what is come to be
For France. Empire, Republic, Monarchy, –
Each clamours or keeps silence in her name,
And lives within the pulse that now is hers.
Today I reflect on the meaning of money and its true value and benefit to mankind, if any. Would we be happier without it?