Were they downhearted by all the mess their currency plan had brought on them? No, not at all. They immediately saw the problems. They had let the wolves wreck things for them. They had not been friendly and European enough. The next time they were not to be thwarted.
They said to themselves, if the wolves can mess us up because they can sell our currencies when we want them to buy them, we should go straight to setting up the single currency. Then there will no currencies left to sell against each other. The wolves will be foiled.
So it came to pass. They moved to set up a new Bank to house their common bank accounts. They printed smart new bank notes with pretty bridges on. They thought up the catchy name, the Euro, for their new money. Because only one country, Luxembourg met all the silly detailed requirements the wisemen had proposed for the new currency, they decided that was all foolish old hat. Why not let everyone in who wanted to join, as none of them met the rules? They could sort it out afterwards, as the wolves could do nothing this time.
For several years it went very well. All those dour old Eurosceptics kept on banging on about how it would end in tears and how they needed to control the debts and deficits. The Eurosceptics now said they agreed with the wise men about that. They thought that you should not allow countries that had already borrowed too much to borrow even more at the new common low rates of interest. They queried how Greek debt could be as good as German debt, and asked if they really shared a bank account? Would Germany bail them out? No-one sensible believed the Eurosceptics. So the governments just kept saying these critics were mad or sad or bad, or possibly all three.
The Irish were having a ball, borrowing loads of money at the nice low rates they got in the new currency. They built plenty of houses, and thousands of Irish returned home to join in the fun. The Spaniards enjoyed a lovely property boom, with big banks lending loads on mortgage and to companies. The Greeks basked in the sunshine and spent billions on more soldiers, earlier retirements and better public services, as it was so cheap to borrow. Even the Germans were happy. They worked hard and made millions of motor cars, as all the people elsewhere in Euroland could now afford to borrow the money to buy new cars. The Germans piled up all their savings, and were very good at selling lots of goods to everyone else.
The currency wolves had slunk away. The Euro did quite well. What could possibly go wrong? Wasn’t the Euro about to replace the dollar? Wasn’t it to become the world’s mightiest currency? Wouldn’t the silly UK have to join after all? Didn’t they always get there in the end, but were just a bit slow about it? Wasn’t it good that those Eurosceptics were so wrong.