Off the Mark: Why Ditching the Euro Would Be a Bad Idea
Even before the current crisis, many Germans dreamed of ditching the euro and re-embracing their beloved deutsche mark. In a five-part series, SPIEGEL ONLINE responds to the myths surrounding the euro vs. deutsche mark debate -- and shows why they are all wrong.
Be honest, now: Do you actually remember what color the 50-deutsche mark bill was? Or what picture was on the back of a 10-mark bill? Or which coin didn't have an eagle or an oak sprig on its reverse side?
Although very few Germans can remember exactly what the deutsche mark bills and coins that served as the currency of the Federal Republic of Germany for over 50 years looked like, a whole lot of them believe that everything was better when they used it.
In fact, surveys show that half of all Germans would like their old currency back. A majority of them considers the good old deutsche mark a better currency than the new and supposedly bad euro.
The Five Big Myths
There's no denying that the euro has gone through some rough times, and that it isn't out of the woods yet. The near-bankruptcies of Greece and Ireland last year weren't exactly good advertisements for the benefits of Europe's common currency. Still, it's also true that -- even if its detractors take great pleasure in suggesting so -- not all of these problems can be attributed to the euro itself. To put it bluntly, Germany still had plenty of problems even when it had the deutsche mark.
- No one ever asked the Germans if they wanted the euro.
- The euro is a much worse currency than the deutsche mark.
- The European Union basically means that everybody else benefits while Germany foots the bill.
- It wouldn't be that hard to dissolve the currency union.
- European integration can work just as well without the euro.
It's high time to inject a bit of reality into the debate and counter these misconceptions with a few hard facts. In the coming days, a five-part SPIEGEL ONLINE series will individually address each of these myths.
- Part 1: Why Ditching the Euro Would Be a Bad Idea
- Part 2: Myth 1: 'No one ever asked the Germans if they wanted the euro.'
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