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Annual lecture debates the euro

Ice News

ENGINEERS ARE poised to enter the single European currency debate at the ICE's forthcoming Annual European Lecture - 'Living outside the euro: a sterling stand or fundamental folly'?

Financial Times international affairs editor Quentin Peel will deliver the lecture on 18 May, when he will argue that the currency was created because of political will rather than economic forces.

'It's going to drive euro members towards far closer integration because of the need for ever greater fiscal co-ordination, and for transfers of resources to poorer parts of the euro-zone,' Peel said.

In the first few months of life the euro had proved weaker than fans or opponents expected, he said. 'Ironically, a weaker Euro might prove a more attractive currency for sterling to join than a stronger one. At present it is sterling that is uncomfortably strong but that situation is unlikely to last indefinitely.'

Peel, who believes that success of the euro will depend on the performance of other world economies, especially the US and Japan, is still positive about its prospects.

'The chances of success are greater than the chances of failure. Its members cannot allow it to fail for both political and economic reasons. Moreover it will be needed and used as a reserve currency to balance the excessive dominance of the dollar.'

Britain's place in the euro debate will be discussed in depth: 'If the euro-11 integrate closer as I expect them to do, Britain will be in danger of becoming a second-class member of the EU,' Peel said. 'The longer the UK stays out, the higher will become the hurdles to entry. But if entry means closer political integration, it may be increasingly difficult for the UK government to win a referendum on membership.'

To book for the lecture contact Diana Maxwell at the ICE on 0171 665 2155, or e-mail maxwell_d@ice.org.uk

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