OPINION

Commentary

The euro is more than just a new currency. It ushers in a whole new reality in our everyday transactions and psychology. It is the symbol of our new position in a complex world. It’s therefore much more important than a division by the common denominator of 340.75 drachmas. A currency is a point of reference for societies, their internal conflicts, the citizens’ dreams and fears. It is an integral part of the history of states and nations. It codifies a society’s dominant convictions. The issue and administration of money is a fundamental expression of political and state power. The euros that will go into our pockets in just 75 days may now be coined and printed at the familiar Holargos mint, but they symbolize a new power that is still a stranger and who remains opaque to the ordinary citizen. There is no real issuer as Europe has no unified political expression. We only know the manager of the new money, the European Central Bank (ECB), and its president, Wim Duisenberg, who is speaking in Athens today. Unfortunately, the euro remains largely a European wager. But who can act as a guarantor of the value of the new currency and how can we have confidence in its stability? We Greeks know at first hand the importance of winning this wager. One only has to ponder the situation in which we would now find ourselves had the country not managed, even at the eleventh hour, to join the eurozone. We can now better understand the importance of a stable economy because we feel the increased protection of having the euro as a common point of reference. This is even more the case at the current juncture, as global recession goes hand in hand with global terror. Solidarity and coordination among the large countries also automatically encompass our everyday life. This is something we should keep in mind whenever we grumble about the obligations that flow from our alliances.