Monetary Union By Hook Or By Crook

European Union leaders bent on creating a single European currency are betting that politics can triumph over economics. Budget politics around the EU resemble a 50-yard dash toward meeting the Maastricht Treaty criteria for monetary union by the end of 1997. That's when the leaders will tally up a list of charter members and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. But in the race to meet the goal, fiscal rules are being broken left and right, setting the stage for disappointment and perhaps down the road another round of inflation.

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