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Howard’s End: Danish Lessons On Oz-Colonisation

Following the Danish vote against adopting the ailing euro the Kiwi lost more than a cent which has again inflamed the debate about merging the Kiwi and Aussie dollars. But joining our two countries politically is the ultimate aim. John Howard writes.

On September 28 the Danes voted against adopting the euro. The British government has said it will hold a referendum during the next parliamentary term and Sweden has also said it will hold a referendum but it was waiting on the Danes.

What Britain is saying, and doubtless Sweden will say, is that joining the euro is essentially an economic judgment. That's nonsense.

As long ago as 1958 Walter Hallstein, the first president of the European Commission, defined the future development of Europe as "customs union, economic union, political union."

It's always been clear that freeing trade in Europe (and the Pacific) would have political consequences.

Indeed, a League of Nations study in the early 1930's pointed out that for a customs union to endure there would need to be stable exchange rates within the union.

This in turn implied that "diverse economic policies concerned with maintaining economic activity cannot be pursued" and that therefore " some political mechanism is required. The greater the interference of the state in economic life, the greater must be the political integration within the customs union."

The leaders in Europe and, I suggest, the Pacific nations know this. New Zealand has already taken the first step - customs union with Australia.

So why are the leaders seemingly now attempting to deceive their electors with the "monetary union" debate smokescreen.

The reason seems to be that they fear if they were honest with the electors about the political consequences of monetary union, the voters would refuse to go along.

The "Euro 12," increasingly a political as well as an economic bloc, includes 11 countries soon to be joined by Greece and is expanding to the East.

The leaders just talking about joining in monetary union seems to be a ploy hoping that their countries will swallow, in due course, what has not been revealed to them in advance.

The September 28 "no" vote means that Denmark will be out of an integrating Europe for many years. So will Sweden. The decisive Danish vote has also given encouragement to the anti-euro majority in Britain.

For Tony Blair to stage a referendum in the next Parliament would mean a showdown with his finance minister and the violent opposition of the press, knowing that if he loses he is finished. His record suggests that he will not take the risk and Britain will continue to dither and drift for the next five years.

So, if the leaders of these euro-skeptic countries are not prepared to tell their people the truth, then the Euro 12 group of countries certainly will.

I predict Euro 12 will propose another conference on the shape of Europe in the next year, which will be limited to member states who are not only committed to the euro, but will also accept as an ultimatum a European federation.

So, too, in the Pacific region. The time is not that far distant where the leaders of Australia and New Zealand will have to face the political and electoral consequences of customs union, monetary union and, ultimately, political union.

Let's drop the charade and let the real debate begin - New Zealand, the seventh state of Australia.

Afterall, we are still provided for as a state in the Australian Constitution written in 1901 at their federation.

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