In the first few days there have been queues of people at banks and some delays at shop tills, but nothing serious.
The launch itself was a bonanza of sound and light shows across Europe but when everyone woke up in the morning with a hangover they probably found the single currency was performing better than they were.
In Frankfurt, the home of the single currency, cash point machines were handing out euros and at supermarket check outs there was a simple solution to the problem of using two currencies – the euros were kept in the tills and the old German currency thrown into a strong box.
They were emptied regularly, removing another few thousand Deutsche marks from the system, each time this was done.
It’s very simple and it works, even taxi drivers and stall holders seem to have successfully made the change over and the old currencies of Europe are disappearing quickly.
Each time someone spends a franc, a gilder or a lira it is automatically retired. That doesn’t mean that this has been flawless process. Opportunistic bank strikes in France and Italy will put a strain on the system.
But dire predictions of a crisis have been proved wrong because of a combination of careful planning and the closure of almost every shop on the continent for the New Year holiday.
If everything continues to move forward as smoothly attention will soon shift to the timetable for the phasing out of Europe’s former currencies.
By the end of February the euro should be the sole currency in use from Portugal to Finland and from Greece to Ireland.
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