euro-largeWe’ve spoken to several politicians and officials so far in Debating Europe, asking policy-makers what they think of your suggestions. However, we’ve also been approaching senior academics and business leaders to get their thoughts down as well. Here’s our first reaction from the “business community”.

Leif Johansson is a Swedish businessman who has served as President and CEO of the Volvo Group since 1997. Johansson’s company produces commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses, as well as industrial and aerospace equipment (the more famous wing of the company, Volvo Cars, was sold to Ford in 1999 and then, most recently, to a Chinese company last year). We thought it might be interesting to hear his perspective on the debate we’ve been having about the Euro (see here, here and here for other reactions).

As CEO of a billion-Euro company with over a hundred thousand employees, does he agree with a comment we were sent from Mike from the UK that the Euro has harmed Europe’s growth and should be abolished? Here’s the original comment:

The eurozone debt crisis has shown that one-size-fits-all policies and lax disciplines are a recipe for disaster. Abolish the Euro, and return monetary policy to the national level.

And here’s Johansson’s response:

I would disagree with that. I think the Euro is so far a great success, if you look at all of the countries with a few exceptions. The word “discipline” he has there is the most important. Perhaps there was a lack of understanding that when you join the Eurozone there has to be discipline both in terms of numbers and in terms of what you do.

What about his own country, Sweden? It’s currently outside of the Eurozone and, in 2003, Swedes overwhelmingly rejected joining the Single Currency in a referendum. Does he think this was the right decision?

I was in favour of Sweden joining the Euro and I still am in favour of Sweden joining the euro. Sweden has one of the soundest economies in the whole of Europe and we still have great volatility in our currency, which is difficult as an industrialist.

So, there we go – our first representative of business is generally supportive of monetary union. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be talking to people more critical of the Euro and its prospects to see if they agree with our commenter.

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4 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar

    And what kind of answer we should wait from a famous unknowed manager ?
    People like me is not eather able to understend the meening of his answer , very clear is that he like Euro so much.
    And the reason because he like is due to the fact is in charge of a big multinational company.
    Multinational company owners are the central banks , the same groups that are printing (from nothing) the Euro.
    That’s why he like this money very much .
    His rich work contract payment depend from the decision taken from the banks . He cannot answer differently from this.

  2. avatar
    peter schellinck

    This is actually a good example why the EURO is so important. Volvo is not Swedish any more but CHINEESE. Should we wait a little longer and have the Euro replaced by the Renminbi? Europe is at an important cross road and golden opportunity to coach the Euro as alternative to the Dollar! It’s now or never. If Europe want’s to remain a key player in the global future, knowing that we will not even represent 10% of the world population, then the Euro can be our trump card. Rather then deterriorating into an internal fight we should reunite, even if we are to break down national sovereignty, and face the world with one policy, one security, one foreign policy and one currency. From a business prospective it is obvious that the less currencies, hence less exchange killers, the better it is to run the business then skid between the moods of exchange rates. The EURO will probably be the only one single thing for us Europeans available to secure an impact on the global economy of the coming centuries.

    • avatar

      EURO born with a big problem : is debt !
      Untill ECB will print this money and lend to European States with an usury rate over 200 % , entire Europe will face instead then richnes , the extreme poverty .
      Let’s change EURO , print and distribute free .

      Everyone can lend money ecxept who emits

  3. avatar

    The Euro is destroying our wealth, threatening our pensions, and the politicians want to use the ‘crisis’ to abolish what’s left of our parliamentary democracy through installing an ‘ESM’ with ‘unlimited right’ to demand our money.

    Of course the big business crowd loves the Euro, they love the ability of getting cheaper and cheaper labor, and banks love the endless bailouts. But one thing is for sure, the Euro is an unmitigated disaster for the people. You only hear elitists standing up for the Euro these days, not without good reason.

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