Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Blame it on the customers

From the OpenEurope newsletter:
"Commission officials have blamed the results of a recent poll, which found that most people in the eurozone want a return to their old national currencies, on people getting "mixed up." (Telegraph, 30 January)"

Don't you love the Eurocrats?
It reminds me of when a notoriously corrupt Italian politician (Bettino Craxi, for those who remember him) commented on the unfavourable outcome of a referendum, stating that "48% voted No, the others got the wrong answer."

In Italy, for example, it is a well-known, everyday occurence, that the introduction of the Euro caused a massive retail price increase - roughly, most retailers, big and small, changed their prices equating 1,000 Liras to Eur 1, ie, twice the official change (Eur 1 to 1,936 Liras).

In Germany, they gave up a strong, stable DM to get a weak, unreliable currency, sharing debt default risks with the like of the Italians and the Greeks.

The Spaniards who, very much like the Italians, used to regularly devalue their currency to keep their exports competitive on the world market, lost a nice tool.

The French, well, as per the usual (CAP anyone?) got the best deal - but still they complain, because, well, because they're French!

However, 7 years on, the so much vaunted advantages of the currency union seem to have reduced to just not having to exchange currencies when going on holiday abroad in Europe: hardly something that keeps people worrying awake at night.

The growth in inter-country trade has failed to materialise, far from becoming an economic super-power on the world stage, Europe is becoming more and more irrelevant, and Eurozone countries are less and less attractive to foreign investors (FDI is in sharp decline -see the recent UK Treasury report, here).

The costs, however, especially in bureacracy and administrative costs have been huge: little surprise that people are complaining that they haven't seen any "bang for their bucks" (more like a 'pop').

But, hey, what does the European Commision say about people complaining? that they are "mixed up"

I love this - I am almost looking forward to one of my clients complaining about being overcharged for shoddy work, delivered late and over budget: rather than groping for some lame excuse, I'll just tell him: "It's not me, mate: it's you. You are mixed up!"

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