After months of doubt and political difficulties in France, Germany, and most recently, Italy, it now appears that the unified European currency, the Euro, will indeed begin on January 1, 1999 to replace the national currencies of as many as 10 or 11 countries. The path to a unified currency is by no means smooth, however. Many European Union member states are finding it politically difficult to reduce their budget deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product and other states, such as Britain and Denmark, are choosing to remain out for now regardless. On the other hand, European economic growth will apparently exceed earlier expectations, allowing leaders to use increased tax revenues instead of cutting social services to qualify.
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