The Corner

Uh Oh, Eur Oh

This, via MarketWatch, is worth watching.

U.K. officials “who matter” said they are considering joining the euro, according to comments made by European Commission [President] Jose Manuel Barroso to the French radio station RTL. He said that while a majority in the U.K. are opposed to the idea, “people who count in the United Kingdom are in the process of thinking about it.

That Mr. Barroso would choose to disclose this is an interesting thing to do at a time when the pound is under intense pressure. It runs some danger of triggering speculation over the level at which sterling would be pegged to the euro, a level that would likely be some way below that grim point to which the battered pound has already sunk. As it happens, after the recent expansion in UK public sector borrowing, I doubt that Britain would be eligible to sign up for the euro, even if it wanted (at least under the current rules), and even if it were a good idea (it isn’t). Nevertheless, it’s tempting to wonder if we might not be about to see an effort on the Brussels Commission’s part to stampede the pound, and before that, the Swedish and Danish Crowns, into the EU’s single currency on the grounds that the euro is some sort of safe haven from the current storm. It’s anything but, but that’s another story.

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