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Euro Ready to Launch

    In just 40 days time, the most visible symbol of European unity yet devised will become a daily reality for millions. The euro will replace the currencies of most European Union countries, although not Britain, Denmark or Sweden, and the convene consigning the Franc, the Deutsch Mark, the Lira and a host of others to history. Here's our business correspondent Jenny Scott.

    In 40 days time, shoppers in this Amsterdam market will be using a brand new currency. And here they are, stacked up in a vast warehouse just north of Amsterdam. There is 450 million pounds worth of euro coins in these boxes waiting to be distributed, and that's just for the Netherlands. Eleven other countries across Europe are facing the same awesome task. There are enough euro coins in this set of boxes alone to pay off the average British mortgage twice over. By January the 1st , they plus the 2.5 billion other coins in this warehouse will be in the Netherlands bars, shops and restaurants, forming part of the world's newest and one of its largest currencies.

    And this is how they're get there. Hundreds of armored Brinks trucks, almost double the usual fleet, are transporting euro notes and coins around the Netherlands. It's a dangerous business. Never before in Europe has so much money been moved around the continent amid so much publicity.

Joop Van Werkhoven (Managing Director, Brinks Netherlands):
    We are very worried that there will be a severe attack somewhere in euro lands, and the professional crimes will go for the high volumes and not the coins but the bank notes.

    If there is a successful attack on these vans, it opens up a whole new danger, counterfeiting. Euros will be unfamiliar. It won't be easy to recognize the genuine from the fake. Intelligence services are already on the trail of counterfeiters.

Dr. Willy Bruggeman (Deputy Director, Europol):
    Some criminal groups, very professional groups, counterfeiting nowadays, Italian Lira or Deutsche Mark, are getting some interest to try to counterfeit Europe currency too. And some of these groups are under surveillance for the moment.

    In fact, security is so tight the Dutch would only see their new bank notes for the first time when they go to a cash machine on January the first. The system will be under huge pressure, but at the Central Bank, the director in charge of the changeover is confident it will cope.

Henny Van Der Wielen (De Nederlandsche Bank):
    We have worked for quite a long time. Because of these older parties that we're have to play an important role in this institution, and I know that we have built this scenario on a consensus, and I know that no one wants to be the weakest link.

    No country will want to be either.  Eleven other nations will be hoping for a smooth transition to the single currency. It's taken years of arguments and planning for the euro to get this far, and still there is one last obstacle before it comes into everyday use. It's got to be delivered across twelve countries in a matter of weeks. It's a huge task, and if anything goes wrong, it could undermine confidence in the whole currency.

    Jenny Scott, BBC News in Amsterdam.



Changeover n. 转换
counterfeit   v.  伪造(货币、手迹等)
legal tender 法定货币
mortgage n.  抵押
on the trail 跟踪,寻找
scenario n.   剧情,方案
stack up 堆起来

Brinks: 布林克斯公司。该公司成立于1859年,是世界上最大、历史最长的保安运输公司,在世界各地有两百个分公司和办事处。

Europol: 即European Policy Office,欧洲政策办公室。该机构成立于1992年,总部设在荷兰的海牙。其宗旨是在防范恐怖活动,贩卖毒品等有组织犯罪方面促进欧盟成员国之间的合作。








    事实上,在欧元方面的保安工作如此严密,以至于荷兰人只有在明年的一月一日在自动提款机取钱时, 才能首次见到欧元纸钞。届时,银行必须承受巨大的压力,但荷兰中央银行负责这次欧元转换的行长对转换成功充满信心。

亨宁·冯·德·威兰(荷兰银行) :我们为此准备了很长时间。作为欧盟中的老成员,我们必须在欧盟中扮演重要的角色,我明白这件事是在各成员国取得一致意见的基础上进行的,我知道谁都不想成为最薄弱的一环。

    没有哪个国家想成为最薄弱的一环。除荷兰外的其它十一个国家也都希望迈向欧洲单一货币的转换过程能够进行顺利。在此之前,欧元经历了数年的争议和准备工作后才走到今天这一步,在它成为大家日常生活的一部分之前,还有最后一个障碍: 就是在几个星期内,欧元必须在欧元区的十二个国家里运送。这是一项庞大的工程,如果有任何差错,就会产生对欧元的信任危机。