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The Euro – a slow motion train crash

Plenary Speech - Tuesday, 13th January 2009

Mr. President

In the last two hundred years there have been at least half a dozen attempts to create monetary unions and fixed exchange rate systems. All have failed. All have damaged the participants. So it is with the euro. The imbalances long predicted by sceptics are starting to bite.

Italy's competitiveness is shot to pieces. Spain's experience is like the Bull in the Corrida: strong and proud at the start: bleeding to death on the sand by the end. Greece's recent unrest clearly relates to high unemployment linked to an over-valued euro.

Bond spreads between Greece and Germany have reached unprecedented levels – over 200 basis points. The markets are speculating on a euro-break-up.

We in Britain can thank Heaven that we kept our own currency, and are not part of the euro-zone's slow-motion train crash.