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2006-02-17 00:00   来源:商务部外事司       我要纠错 | 打印 | 收藏 | | |

  Euro: Promises of Integration


  I Backgrounder

  I 背景知识

  With the collapse of the Bretton Woods system and the fluctuations (devaluation and revaluation) of the exchange rates inflicted upon major currencies of European nations, in The Hague in December 1969, the Heads of State and Government decided to make economic and monetary union (EMU) an official goal of European integration. It has set the tone for further measures, including the launching of the Euro.

  随着布莱顿森林体系的崩溃,加之欧洲国家主要货币饱受汇率动荡之苦(贬值和重新估价),1969年12月,欧洲国家元首和政府首脑在海牙决定将经济与货币联盟设为欧洲一体化的官方目标。它为今后所要采取的措施,包括欧元的发行, 奠定了基调。

  Despite setbacks and disruptions during the depression of the 70's, the integration process again picked up steam with the creation of the European Monetary System (EMS) in 1979. Resolving to tackle the relatively high transaction costs linked to currency conversion and the uncertainties linked to exchange-rate fluctuations, Madrid European Council launched the first stage of EMU: full liberalization of capital movements in eight Member States by 1 July 1990. Meanwhile, Member States were to make significant progress towards economic policy convergence.


  This process should culminate in the introduction of the single currency by the end of the century. The conviction was growing in economic and financial circles that the Union would have withstood the recession more successfully if the single currency had existed. To this end, eurozone members must also make significant progress towards convergence of their economies.


  The weekend of 1, 2 and 3 May 1998 will go down in history as the most important milestone on the road to Economic and Monetary Union. On the basis of a recommendation adopted by the Ecofin Council (Economics and Finance Ministers) and having consulted the European Parliament, the Council, meeting at the level of Heads of State or Government, unanimously decided that eleven Member States, namely Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland, fulfilled the necessary conditions for adopting the single currency on 1 January 1999.

  1998年5月1日到3日将作为通往经济与货币联盟道路上的一个里程碑而被载入史册。基于经济与财政部长委员会所提交的建议,并与欧洲国会进行磋商后,欧盟委员会召开了国家元首和政府首脑级会议。会上一致同意11个成员国, 既比利时,德国,西班牙,法国,爱尔兰,意大利,卢森堡,荷兰,奥地利,葡萄牙和芬兰,已经具备了在1999年1月1日采用单一货币的必需条件。

  The European Central Bank was therefore established on 1 June 1998, succeeding the European Monetary Institute and also based at Frankfurt. It became operational on 1 January 1999.


  II Qs&As

  II 一问一答

  1.What is the euro?


  The euro is the European Union's single currency, which arrived in cashless form after years of negotiations and preparation on January 1 1999 when 11 EU countries formed an Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and irrevocably locked the exchange rates of their currencies against the euro.


  Greece became the twelfth member when it joined the euro on January 1 2001.


  Although the euro zone's citizens are using their own bank notes and coins, they are no longer stand-alone currencies, but subdivisions of the euro. Their value against the euro is irrevocably fixed. So 1 euro is the same as 166.386 Spanish pesetas or 6.56 French francs. There are 100 cents in a euro, sometimes called euro cents.


  On January 1 2002, euro notes and coins will come into circulation. The scale of the project presents a massive logistical challenge: 14.25bn new banknotes, representing E642bn and 56bn coins, weighing thousands of tons, will have to be minted.


  Banks already conduct transactions in euros; checks, credit transfers and direct debits can be denominated in them; equities are priced in euros; and foreign exchange dealers trade in euros.


  There will be seven euro notes and eight euro coins. The notes will be: 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euro. The coins will be: 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 euro cent, 20 euro cent, 10 euro cent, 5 euro cent, 2 euro cent, and 1 euro cent.

  欧元总共有七种纸币和八种铸币。纸币面值为500,200,100,50,20,10 ,5欧元。铸币分为2欧元,1欧元,50欧分,20欧分,10欧分,5欧分,2欧分和1欧分。

  2.Who are members?


  Twelve states now make up the euro zone. They are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.


  Danish voters on September 28 2000 became the first European citizens to decide by popular referendum whether to adopt the euro. In the final count, 53.1 per cent voted against the euro.


  The governments of UK and Sweden have decided to stay outside the euro for the time being.


  3.Can any country join the euro?


  In order to join the euro a country must be a member of the European Union and be able to pass economic tests set out by the Maastricht Treaty.


  The Treaty requires economies to have achieved certain levels of performance on inflation, public deficits and debts, exchange rates and interest rates. These targets ensure not only stable economic conditions but also a degree of convergence between participating member states which allows EMU to function smoothly.


  The terms of the Treaty are that:


  Annual government deficit must not exceed 3 per cent of GDP.


  Total outstanding government debt must not exceed 60 per cent of GDP.


  Rate of inflation within 1.5 percentage points of the three best performing EU countries.


  Average nominal long-term interest rate must be within 2 percentage points of the average rate in the three countries with the lowest inflation rates.


  Exchange rate stability, meaning that for at least 2 years the currency has kept within the "normal" fluctuation margins of European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM).


  The European Council makes the final judgment on whether a member state fulfils the necessary conditions for the adoption of the euro.


  5.How are businesses within the euro zone affected by the euro?


  Companies operating within the euro zone have already enjoyed a reduction in many of their costs, particularly in treasury management, foreign exchange transactions and through the elimination of much foreign exchange risk.


  With the conversion to euro notes and coins however, increased price transparency should trigger strong competition in some sectors so, the cost to consumers of certain goods in certain markets may have to fall. Businesses also face one-off costs in the changing of equipment and staff training.


  However, critics of the euro feel that handing over control of interest rates and exchange rate policy to the ECB could mean that action is taken centrally which is inappropriate for the economies in which companies operate.


  6.What will the euro mean for consumers?


  The expectation is that consumers will be able to shop around for bargains as it becomes easier to compare prices between countries as all goods will be valued in euros.


  However, there are fears that businesses will seize the opportunity to raise their prices amid the confusion arising from the changeover to euros.


  III External aspects of euro and EMU (European Monetary Union)

  III 欧元和欧洲货币联盟的对外影响

  The launching of euro and the completion of the EMU will be instrumental in reshaping the international monetary system, principally by making it more balanced and symmetrical. As this involves a progressive approach, whose effectiveness mainly rests with the smooth circulation of euro and the independent execution of the stability-oriented policies by the European Central Bank (ECB), its repercussions will be most manifest in the following aspects:

  欧元的发行和欧洲货币联盟的形成将在世界货币体系重新整合的过程中发挥至关重要的作用。 这主要表现在使该体系更为平衡和对称。这也包括采取一种循序渐进的方法,而它的效用主要取决于欧元的顺利流通和欧洲央行稳定政策的独立实施。其带来的影响将主要表现在以下几个方面:

  1. The use of single currency will better coordinate the economic policies of its Member States, which in turn will contribute to a more pronounced economic status of the euro area comparable to that of the U.S and larger than that of Japan.

  1.使用单一货币将更好地协调欧元区成员国各自的经济政策,而这会使欧元区的 经济地位变得更为显著, 超过日本并足以与美国抗衡。

  2. Owing to the disappearance of tensions between European currencies, the economic performance of the eurozone will be less sensitive to exchange rate fluctuations.


  3. With the completion of EMU, the European financial market will become truly integrated with the implementation of an efficient trans-border payment system (TARGET). The recent agreement clinched by the ECB to finalize the deadline for lowering the charges and commission rates for trans-border transactions and capital transfer can serve as a case in point.


  4. The euro should constitute an important reserve currency and play a key role in portfolios of financial assets on an international scale.


  5. European economic policies should, in light of its aim to foster easy monetary conditions and maintain appropriate exchange rates, merit close attention as a valuable source of reference in international economic affairs.


  6. The representation of the EMU within international institutions such as the IMF is a matter awaiting further discussions and consultations. Mechanisms of monitoring and mutual compatibility are to be highlighted.


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