In Maastricht, in 1992, the then 12 members of the European Community decided to move towards an Economic and Monetary Union, with the aim of launching a single currency. But when the European single currency was launched in January 1999 by 11 of the 15 EU member states, Blair decided to exercise the opt-out, negotiated by John Major. Maastricht set four criteria to be met in order to join the euro : the avoidance of excessive government deficits to be less than 3% of GDP for annual debts, and 60% for the stock of government debt; inflation to be no more than 1.5% higher than the best three performing member states; and the currency to stay within the margins of the European Monetary System for at least two years.
[...] Is Britain likely to join in the next few years? Public opinion The average result is 60% of British people against Euro membership and 27% for. It should be noted that there is a class divide on the question of Euro membership: the British elite is more pro-European than the British mass public, the small businessman is strongly anti-EU, but the professional and business elites are strongly pro EU. The government cannot easily win a referendum. Interest groups, the media and the No and Yes campaign The CBI is a strong advocate of British membership of the Euro, on the grounds that it would lead to significant transaction cost reductions for its members. [...]
[...] 146-157 Anne Deighton, “European Union Policy”, in Seldon The Blair Effect (Little, Brown, 2001), pp. 307-328 Simon Hix, “Britain, the EU and the in Developments in British Politics (Palgrave, 2002), pp. 47-68 Andy Mullen and Brian Burkitt, “European Integration and the Battle for British Hearts and Minds: New Labour and the Political Quarterly, Volume 74, Number pp. 322-336 Ben Rosamond, Europeanization of British Politics”, in Developments in British Politics (Palgrave, 2003), pp. 39-59 Colin Thain, “Economic Policy”, in Developments in British Politics (Palgrave 2002), pp. [...]
[...] If Britain had joined the Euro, there would be no charge. Let me give another example: in April 2001, when the far right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen managed to come second in the presidential election, in France had not joined the euro, there would have been an exchange rates crisis. Studies show that a profound Europeanization has occurred in Britain's economy since joining the EU. The value of exports plus imports with EU member states increased from 5.4 billion in 1971 to £201 billion in 1999. [...]
[...] Would joining EMU promote higher growth, stability and a lasting increase in jobs? These tests were placed within the context of a need for “sustainable and durable” convergence, between the UK and European economy. In particular the Treasury emphasises that the British economy: - has to have converged with Europe; - can demonstrably be shown to have converged, and - that the convergence is capable of being sustained, and - that there is sufficient flexibility to adapt to change and unexpected economic events. [...]
[...] The Mail, The Sun, The Telegraph and The Times are likely to campaign against. “Prepare and persuade” The government has been preparing for membership, through institutional and legislative action. In February 1999, it published the first part of its National Changeover Plan, which set three stages to Britain joining the Euro within three years of a yes vote. The government has also contributed financially to the development of a network of 24 Euro-Info Centres. In October 1999, the Britain in Europe campaign was launched by Blair, Brown, Cook, Kenneth Clarke and Charles Kennedy. [...]
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