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The euro: where it all began

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The euro: where it all began


It was twenty years ago this week that the goal of a single European currency was born in the otherwise unremarkable Dutch town of Maastricht.

It would be almost another 10 years before the euro hit the streets and was adopted seamlessly by millions of citizens.

Fast-forward another decade and in Maastricht there are fears that what for many was a dream could turn into a nightmare:

“I’m scared it won’t survive,” said one man. “Because if it doesn’t survive it’s going to be really, really messy and things will happen that you just cannot predict.”

“We had to work very hard for it,” a businessman said, “the people are used to it now. So don’t go back to the old currency. Never,” he told Europe’s leaders.

The atmosphere at Friday’s crucial EU summit will be far removed from the fanfare of celebration and optimism that greeted the launch of the euro. Now the leaders face the daunting prospect of keeping the dream alive.

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