Official 14 Qualify For Euro

The announcement, March 25, that 14 of the European Union's 15 countries are qualified to participate in next year's launch of a common currency lacked the drama of America's Academy Awards or France's Cannes Film Festival. The only lingering question was whether Italy met the economic criteria to participate in the Jan. 1, 1999 debut of the euro, as the currency is called. Italy did. Greece, as expected, did not. Technically, euro's cast of characters won't be set until May, at a meeting of EU heads of state. However, no changes are expected. But only 11 EU nations will actually participate in euro's debut; although they qualify financially, Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have opted out of European monetary union for the time being.

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