A euro birthday note

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Dear euro, happy birthday! You made it to 10 – or is that seven? Bit fuzzy, because the first three years you existed only electronically. Never mind. You’re still around. That’s what counts. Remember that doom-mongering US economist Milton Friedman? He said you would never be “an optimal currency area”, whatever that means. Well, you proved him wrong, so far – in spite of your name.

Yes, it is bland. And those quaint phonetic variations – oyro in German, euroro in Spanish – hardly add much. Sorry. Your parents just couldn’t agree on a name. But which can? Some cheekily suggested pound. That idea got shouted down before you could say “devaluation”. Still, euro is not so bad compared with that other green fellow. What’s he called – the humpback? Or is it dolor? Some said that’s what he felt at your birth, though he looks more cheerful lately. Vive la différence!

Your original parents – all 11 of them – have tried to be good. And they hired the best help they could, though there were squabbles. Admittedly, your first nanny was a chain-smoker from the Netherlands, which still hasn’t decided if it likes you. But Wim was not Dim, even if he seemed to like taking you downmarket. Now you’ve got a French au pair, so suave and smart. It has been upmarket ever since.

You’re so big now. Watch that strength – you might hurt yourself. And so popular too. Many more want to be your friend, and you already boast 300m. The other day, one fan from Ireland said he’d never have made it through the crisis without you. And all this in the worst recession for 30 years.

Now for the next decade – the angst of the teenage years. My advice: pick your friends well. Hanging with those free-spending southerners is great fun but they suffer from middle-age bond spreads. Then there are those northerners, but they need to liven up. Send them that Jay-Z video with the €500 notes, instead of the Dee Emm currency they still fetishise. You may feel torn apart by such choices. But that’s all part of growing up.

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