The Euro between national and European identity
Risse, Thomas – 2003
We miss the significance of the advent of the Euro for European political, economic, and social order if we ignore its identity dimension. Money has always been a symbolic marker in nation-building efforts and is strongly related to collective national identities. This article makes two interrelated causal claims. On the one hand, the introduction of Euro bills and coins has already begun to affect Euroland citizens' identification with the EU and Europe in general. The Euro makes Europe real and reifies it as a political order, since it provides a visible link from Brussels to the daily lives of the citizens. On the other hand, existing collective identities pertaining to the nation- state explain to a large degree how comfortable people feel using and dealing with the Euro. The variation in attitudes between the Italian enthusiasm for the Euro, the German ambivalence about it, and the widespread British opposition can be accounted for by the differences in collective understandings and identification patterns with the nation-state and Europe. In sum, the causal arrows from the Euro to collective identities run both ways.