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Did Thatcher's Reforms Pave Way for Euro Zone?

Former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher
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Former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher's economic reforms were the driving force behind the creation of the euro zone, a Nomura senior political analyst told CNBC on Monday.

Thatcher, Britain's first and only female prime minister who died on Monday following a stroke, transformed the British economy and her free market reforms also paved the way for the "single market" Europe we know today, said Alastair Newton, senior political analyst at Nomura.

"While Thatcher was a hefty euro skeptic she was also the driving force behind the creation of the single market in Europe," said Newton.

"While the outcome of the single currency remains to be seen, the single market that now exists in Europe was a huge step forward and would not have been possible without her free market reforms."

Lord David Owen, former U.K. foreign secretary, said that although Thatcher's reforms were controversial, they were necessary.

"She changed Britain's society, she felt we needed to become more commercial, more competitive, we were not selling as much in the markets of the world as we needed and she also felt that our competitive edge would be improved if we had more democratic trade unions," Owen told CNBC.

"She introduced those market reforms, which were very controversial. But broadly speaking, I felt they were necessary and the new social democratic party supported it. But she never understood the need to a social element to the social market," Owen added.

However, Thatcher's reforms were not without their downside, said Newton. Thatcher's rolling back of the "frontiers of the state" also made way for the deregulation within financial services that ultimately paved the way to the financial crisis.

"Thatcher's Big Bang in many ways paved the way for the unfettered regulation which led to the 2008 demise of Lehman Brothers and the financial crisis. However, her reforms also enabled London to become one of the top two financial centers in the world, along with New York, and it still remains so," he said.

As Chairman of the of the Centre for Policy Studies, which was founded by Thatcher, Lord Maurice Saatchi described the "iron lady" as immortal in founding an economic revolution.

"Everyone wants to be immortal. Few are. Mrs Thatcher is. Why? Because her values are timeless, eternal.

"She developed all the winning arguments of our time- free markets, low tax, a small state, independence, individuality, self-determination. The result was a revolution in economic policy and three election victories in a row," he said.


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