RE: ECU and euro - both exist

From: Gary Roberts (gar@sparc.SanDiegoCA.NCR.COM)
Date: Thu Oct 23 1997 - 13:52:54 EDT

> From daemon Thu Oct 23 02:13:06 1997
> Errors-To:
> Mime-Version: 1.0

> From: Alexander Rautenberg <>
> Subject: RE: ECU and euro - both exist
> There have been ECU coins, but the only ones I have known of have come
> from the Belgian government. They should all be in the hands of
> collectionists now, and I think that was their purpose. In most European
> countries, though, you can open bank accounts in ECU; they are treated
> like 'foreign currency' accounts. So in a way the currency ECU exists as
> such.

Thanks for reminding me of the more complete story.

> But until now I have always supposed that the Euro would substitute the
> ECU as the official unit in intra-community clearing once it has been
> introduced. So that all EU transactions will be expressed in Euro
> instead of ECU. The Euro will not only substitute the member countries
> currencies but also the one of the Community (which by the way is the
> only logical approach; where's the point in a EU common currency when
> the EU institutions themselves keep their own one).
> If this is so, why is there any need to have two different symbols then?
> If this is not so, could someone contribute some information on what's
> the relationship Euro/ECU?

First of all, it has not been established that U+2040 means ECU.

Secondly, is it established that the Euro/Ecu exchange rate will
be one for one (historically, things like the new shekel, new franc,
etc, have required new currency symbols)?

Thirdly, presumably, the European commission came up with the Euro
because they thought it was conceptually different than the ECU.

While one might successfully argue against the three points above,
there was sufficient doubt so that the safest route appeared to be to
allocate a new code point, with well defined semantics, instead of
defining a semantics for an ill defined code point.

Essentially, the decision has been made. It would take extraordinary
reasons to revoke that decision now. We may never satisfy you that
it was the right decision (I remain unconvinced myself), but it is
a justifyable position. We will never know what mess we avoided.
We can only hope that the mess we are in will not be too bad.


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