Irish Independent, Jun 27, 2000, 201 words

MEMBERSHIP of the single European currency could add 20pc to the UK economy in the long run and propel Britain towards US levels of affluence, a new report said yesterday

The study by US professor Andrew Rose said euro membership could triple UK trade with the eurozone over the next 30 years and double the country's external trade.

''The reason is that open economies tend to grow more quickly and consequently enjoy higher standards of living,'' Prof Rose said in the study.

The report was commissioned by the highly active pro-euro campaign group Britain in Europe.

But he sounded a note of caution, saying a currency union on the scale of the eurozone had in fact never been attempted.

''Most currency unions involve small and poor nations. ''

''The enormous impact that currency unions seem to have on these nations may thus be much bigger than the effect of EMU on European trade,'' he wrote.

But national currencies were important barriers to trade, he added.

''The monetary barriers are falling across Europe.''

''The UK,'' he added, ``should seriously consider whether it wishes to forgo this historic opportunity for an enormously beneficial expansion of its European trade.''

However, the report was immediately attacked by anti-euro group Business for Sterling as ``a silly study.''

The survey was ``irrelevant to the British debate'' the group concluded.

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