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Europe's OrphanThe Future of the Euro and the Politics of Debt$
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Martin Sandbu

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691175942

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691175942.001.0001

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Great Britain or Little England?

Great Britain or Little England?

(p.243) Ten Great Britain or Little England?
Europe's Orphan

Martin Sandbu

Princeton University Press

This chapter asks the taboo question: shouldn't the United Kingdom have been in the single currency from the start — and how is the course of Europe as a whole affected by its choices, first not to join the euro and now to leave the EU altogether? The United Kingdom was the only big economy in Europe to stay outside of the monetary union. In June 2016 Britons took the further step of choosing to leave the EU altogether. Britain will nonetheless continue to be strongly affected by the euro's failure or success, and by how the eurozone manages its economy. It is not widely appreciated how much political influence in Europe Britain abdicated by not joining the euro; in a sense, ‘Brexit’ (Britain's exit from the EU) is the logical completion of that abdication. Even less understood is how much difference the British choice to stay out made to how the euro has been run.

Keywords:   United Kingdom, single currency, euro, EU, monetary union, Britain, eurozone, Brexit

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