There were those who thought it would never happen, those who thought it would be a disaster and those who thought it would blow Europe asunder...
And, of course, there were those who hoped (or feared?) it would MAKE a European nation and pave the way to a UNITED STATES OF EUROPE.
What am I talking about?
Well, the introduction of a currency for Europe, the EURO.
Can you believe it? It's already been ten years since the single currency was launched into anxious financial markets amid fears of failure and forex massacre (notes and coins were only introduced two years later to replace respective national currencies). So, what's the verdict after the first decade? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
Well, for starters, we all know it DID happen. So it WAS possible. No questions about that.
And then ... the Euro did NOT get slaughtered in the markets. Not even on its first day. In fact, over the course of these first ten years, there have been far more collective laments about the strength of the Euro than about its weakness. Because for forex traders, day ONE of the Euro was very simple and very unsentimental: they simply replaced deutschmark with Euro and Bundesbank with European Central Bank and moved on. All they had to get used to was new exchange rates.
You see, the Euro and its brand new central bank, the ECB, might have been without a track record; but for the financial community they were simply the heirs of the German deutschmark and ITS central bank, the Bundesbank.
And, so far at least, the currency union has NOT fallen apart. And so far, all the prophets of doom have been proven wrong. So far.... But let's not be too optimistic here: multi-nation currency unions of the past have always fallen apart ... the latest in that line - the Scandinavian monetary union tying Norway, Sweden and Denmark together with one currency in 1875 - lasted for a respectable 39 years and only fell apart with the outbreak of WWI in 1914. So, it's early days for this young European currency.