A survey of European finance directors found the majority are confident that European Monetary Union (Emu) offers great benefit to their organisations in the long term but are concerned about the short-term implications.
Over 120 members - drawn from companies with annual turnover in excess of US$150 million - took part in the focus group organised by Hyperion Software.
European marketing director, Matthew Goldsbrough said finance directors ?feel that Emu is a good thing on a macro economic level but are wary of the implications of potential short-term instability for their companies.?
The Germans in particular were alarmed about ?the loss of control in having to change to the Euro from the overpowering deutschmark,? said Goldsbrough, ?with eight out of ten members seeing neither benefit nor disbenefit arising from Emu.?
This concern over the commercial benefits to be gained was echoed by several UK members. One complained: ?It?s inevitable, without the sense that the populations really want it. There is concern that large scale unemployment may ensue as Europe prices itself out of the market.?
However several UK directors were in favour wanting to see the government make a formal commitment to joining EMU. ?I think what Europe is trying to do is too far, too fast,? said one, ?but I don?t want to be left out.?
Looking on the sunny side, most Italians thought that Emu would bring great benefit - eventually. One member commented: ?It will be a disaster in the few years but it should smooth out after five years or so.?
On the impact of location, three quarters said Emu would have no influence on where their companies based their headquarters or invested in Europe. One member said: ?Due to the levelling out of prices and the European globalisation we have to look for locations which are of advantage concerning costs and logistic factors.?
Encouragingly for the UK - which will not join Emu in 1999 - the group felt strongly that Emu would have no affect on trade with EU countries that do not join in the first wave.
French members proved the exception with two thirds believing that trade with non-members would suffer. Reasons why included ?instability of currency and rates? and ?being forced to operate systems changes with dual currency.?
Most group member companies are prepared for the new technology with nine out of ten saying their transaction systems will be ready for 1999.
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