The Hard Ecu

Fifteen years ago today, the then Chancellor, John Major, proposed a new European currency. This was dubbed the 'Hard Ecu'. The name, ECU, stood for 'European Currency Unit' and was a damned silly name - but one which held for a while as to call it 'Pound, Shilling, Dollar, Franc' or some other name would likely cause turf wars over the name rather than the principle.

The Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, said that currency union was unlikely in her lifetime. The Euro entered circulation in 2002, having been traded for several years as a seperate currency. Ironically, despite the involvement of the British in 1990, the UK is one of three EU countries which did not sign up for the Euro.