Lost in this year's blather over whether and how the Euro will become reality by 1999 was the fact that the European Monetary Institute (EMI), destined to be Europe's central bank, chose Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to be the vehicle for TARGET, its real-time gross settlement (RTGS) messaging system, thus providing the roads over which Euro-denominated currency flows would travel. Since nations are united by various sorts of roads, selecting SWIFT-a logical choice for the job, since it was already cozily ensconced in the back offices of the major European banks-meant that the nation of Europe, composed of provinces with names like Italy or Belgium, was that much closer to reality.

Looked at this way, the bickering among the Europeans about whether to support the Euro, and who would be admitted to its splendors, was taking place on a ship that had already left the dock.

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