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True, recent Greek official economic stats had shown mysterious improvements but Greece still met none of the criteria for joining the currency.Policy makers had been pondering a European currency for decades. When I became FT currency columnist in 1996, Mitterrand was already dead.Even the currency markets were bored by European monetary union.This was tricky: 1996 was perhaps the slowest year in currencies since 1973 .The Greeks joined partly just to solve a short-term problem: entering the ERM helped fix the drachma's rate against other European currencies, and thus stopped the market's attack.Nobody imagined that Greek entry into the euro would one day produce Europe's biggest headache.Today the European project consists of trying to digest the euro.The euro was a visionary project. Given that Europe in 1989 was coming off the best 40 years in its blood-soaked history, the bias should have been to leave well alone instead of inventing a currency.
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