The constant news about economic troubles around the world is depressing. There is a fairly high chance that the eurozone will have to alter dramatically – many will say “not before time” and probably “we told you so”. There are obvious advantages to a stable European market and it is certainly helpful to commerce and travellers to have reduced complexity with a single currency.
The problem though is something rather more fundamental that Europe seems to forget on a frequent basis. One size does not fit all. There are cultural differences and ways of living that differ between nations (indeed we are aware of this even within our own small island). We can be thankful to Gordon Brown for not taking the UK into the Euro, which his then boss (Tony Blair) was very keen to do. Certainly it would be nice to live in a world where each nation values life and personal freedoms, but we are acutely aware that this is not the case in many parts of the world, including Europe and on occasion even here within Britain.
This weekend, finance ministers will be meeting in Poland to discuss and hopefully take action on the problems relating to the Greek national debt. However, before we rush to chasten the Greeks, our own situation is not that much better and the North American (USA) numbers are even more terrifying. Change is needed and this needs to be done thoughtfully and carefully. The problems are enormous, but we are (well I certainly include myself) not without hope, which reminded me of this rather powerful little poem.