A Few Months Ago, the world celebrated one of the most advanced steps toward international unity in modern history. The euro, a common currency that unites the economies of 12 European countries, went into effect. The prevailing mood of the people on the occasion of the transition in Europe was described as "europhoria."
When my friend Magda, from São Paulo, Brazil, joined me in Vienna, Austria, for the holidays at the end of the year, we saw these words displayed on many window shops: Hurra, Europa, der Euro ist da! ("Hurray, Europe, the euro is here!") And the first day of the year found us joining a crowd of local citizens and tourists from many countries, lining up at the ATM machine, eager to get our first pieces of the new money.
The beautiful euro bill is a message in itself. Magda pointed out to me its special design—made up of bridges, windows, doorways, and other passageways that hint at overcoming old barriers and leaving behind the divisions of the past. This eventful moment rolled in naturally following the crumbling of the Berlin wall in Germany, the apartheid system in South Africa, and the domination of Soviet administration in Eastern Europe.
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