The mood has shifted.
Europeans are finally learning to love the euro, it seems, at least according to the latest edition of the Eurobarometer, which is published twice yearly by the European Commission: 64% of the respondents, representing 16 out of 19 Eurozone economies, believe that having the euro is “a good thing for their country,” the highest proportion since 2002, and up from 56% in 2016. Only 26% of respondents thought it was a bad thing.
A further 74% of respondents said that the euro is a good thing for the EU as a whole, the highest proportion in the 2010-2017 series. This is somewhat ironic given that even the ECB conceded this week that the main idea behind the euro as a driving force for regional economic convergence has produced, let’s say, mixed results, having essentially failed where it mattered the most, in Southern European economies:
“It is striking, however, that little convergence has occurred among the early euro adopters, despite their differences in GDP per capita. In contrast to some initial expectations that the establishment of the euro would act as a catalyser of faster real convergence, little convergence, if any, has taken place for the whole period 1999-2016”
Nonetheless, the results of the survey point to a marked improvement in Europe’s love affair with the single currency, as growth in the Eurozone has reached its highest level (a forecast 2.6% for 2017) since the financial crisis began 10 years ago.
It’s a world away from the prophecies of doom and gloom that proliferated this time last year, when it seemed that Europe was on the cusp of an unprecedented anti-euro backlash that could even pose an existential threat to the currency bloc…