These predictions were not surprisingly way off the mark, as many of the component parts of the euro were "currency weaklings", which weighed down the euro like lead sinkers rather than help it swim up. And then, the lynchpin of the European economy, Germany, became the sick man of Europe.
The euro has gained in value recently of course, but is this strengthening durable? As you point out, there are structural reasons for doubting this. But one key point missing from your analysis is where are all those international reserves? According to statistics from the Bank of International Settlements, most of the world's official foreign exchange reserves are to be found in East Asia, especially Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong-China and Korea. These countries are just across the "Pacific lake" from the US, and mostly have very strong economic and political links with the US. Moreover, they all look up to the US as the global leader, and will take a long time to convince of any merit of swinging into euros.
The fledgling process of Asia/Europe international co-operation (ASEM), which recently held its summit in Copenhagen, left many observers still wondering whether this great idea will ever achieve anything. If Europe wants a strong currency, it may need reforms, but it will certainly have to strengthen its ties with those countries in East Asia that sit on the biggest piles of official foreign exchange reserves.
Comments and letters may be edited for publishing. Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org or post your comments at these portals: www.oecdobserver.org, www.oecdinsights.org, or at the other OECD portals on this page.
©OECD Observer No 234, October 2002