The charm of a tactful enlargement

Article published on Jan. 8, 2008
Article published on Jan. 8, 2008
While things are getting hot concerning the future of Europe and the definition of its frontier, another type of enlargement is happening, peacefully and discreetly. Since January 1st, 2008 the Euro zone has two new members. After Slovenia beginning of 2007, it is now Malta and Cyprus’ turn to adopt the single currency.
In deed the secretaries of finance of European Union have decided this last July, 10 that these two small countries met the convergence criteria designed to ensure price, long term interest rate and currency stability as well as the public finance balance.

At the time when some of the historical members (follow my eyes…) struggle to manage to respect this very same criteria, kudos for this performance! But in the end, the Euro in Malta and Cyprus, what difference does it make? Sure, collectors will get new sets of coins. Sure, tourism in these two sunny islands will be easier, since apparently Malta had become the destination-to-be for brand new-elected head of state.

Apart from that, for these two countries, adopting the Euro has a strong historical meaning.

For Malta which, not long ago, was still considered to be a “grey zone” in the world finance, this adoption is the outcome of structural reforms implemented within the entry process into the EU. As a result, Malta gains its international respectability on the financial scene.

For the Republic of Cyprus, the adoption of Euro enables it to assert its European bedrock. Shall we remind you that since the Antiquity Cyprus is torn between East and West and that today this island is divided in two zones? In the south, the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Cyprus in the north occupied by the Turkish Army. For the southern part of the island, the single currency is one more proof of its European roots when or the northern part it is one more proof of its isolation.

Above all, for Malta and Cyprus, the adoption of the Euro is the confirmation that they are going for a complete integration into the EU, that they have decided to fully respect the communautarian rules and criteria. Far from being just an assent to the “European dream”, their membership is in conformity with their national interests : Malta and Cyprus have well understood that their development in the future will depend on the European construction. At the time when the big European countries stumble on their engagement towards the EU and have a tendency to respect the rules that they have themselves created at their own discretion, let that be a lesson to us…

Alexis BrunelleTranslation : Cecile Zandvliet