Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Respekt: Czech euro adoption promoters use poor arguments

ČTK |
17 October 2017

Prague, Oct 16 (CTK) - ANO leader Andrej Babis realised that euro is unpopular among Czechs and so the right-wing TOP 09 is the only party that ardently promotes euro adoption before the general election, but its arguments are poor, Marek Svehla writes in weekly Respekt out on Monday.

It is no wonder that the arguments presented for the introduction of the euro in the country seem to have little impact on society, he says.

Travelling abroad is easier with the euro, but most Czechs go abroad only seldom or not at all, Svehla writes, dismissing the first argument as too irrelevant.

Prices in Czech, Austrian and German supermarkets would be easy to compare if they all were in euros, but only a small part of Czechs live close to the border to be able to do their shopping regularly in the euro zone, Svehla writes.

The argument that it is economically advantageous to join the euro zone is disputable. The euro would be certainly an advantage for Czech exporters, but otherwise both the advocates and the opponents of the euro adoption produce their own statistics to prove their claims, Svehla writes.

He says the most frequent argument is that the Czech Republic will not become part of the hard core of the European Union without adopting the euro and that Czechs will not have a chance to decide on the future of Europe.

But how many Czechs really wish to have influence in the EU? Has Prague ever applied any such influence? Has the country ever missed it? And, last but not least, how big would such an influence be given the small size of the Czech Republic? Svehla writes.

This issue is too abstract to make somebody long for the euro. Common sense tells most Czechs that the euro is not something they would need, he says.

Moreover, even those who want pay in euros in the Czech Republic often primarily want Europe to have influence on Prague rather than Prague on Europe, Svehla writes.

The Czech opponents of euro adoption like to give Sweden and Denmark as examples of the countries they have their own currencies and are prosperous. But they either know that this argument is false or they do not understand the position of their homeland, Svehla writes.

He says the Swedish and Danish history and position on the geopolitical map is very different from those of the Czech Republic, which is not a confident, traditionally free country and an integral part of the West, unlike them.

In the context of euro adoption, the Czech Republic is similar to the Baltic states, having a similar modern history and facing similar possible threats in future. The Baltic states adopted the euro not to influence Europe but to firmly cling to Europe, namely its western, prosperous, more secure and more stable part, Svehla writes.

And this is also the case of the Czech Republic: the euro should be its anchor in the region of prosperity and stability, he adds.

The opponents of the joint currency like to predict the disintegration of the euro zone or the whole EU. This may happen, nothing lasts forever. Paradoxically, this risk, however small, is also an argument for joining the euro zone and other Western alliances because the Western countries tested their cooperation and it worked and they would establish a new organisation, Svehla writes.

If the Czech Republic does not strive to belong to the alliance of cooperating free rich countries, it will belong somewhere else, and it is clear where, Svehla says, hinting at Russia and adding that adoption of the euro is the best instrument to avoid such a future.

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