Indisputably, the euro has played a pivotal role in the development of Europe. Yet, the euro has also been very controversial, raising many discussions related to the nature, role and form of the “common currency”. This paper aims at contributing to this ongoing debate from a Marxist perspective, presenting the theoretical framework of quasi-world money and examining the evolution of the euro as such, from the 1950s when the idea appeared for the first time. In particular, the paper focuses on the processes that led to the emergence of the euro as quasiworld money. These processes comprised a series of political solutions to the contradiction between the necessity of all major European countries to impose their money on the European market on the one hand, and their incompetence in doing so, on the other.
The analysis focuses on the post-war European monetary system up until the launch of the European Monetary Union. Its object is a historical monetary compromise that passed through many phases and managed to survive until the present day. The paper analyses the particular mechanisms through which the euro became a reality and points to the class interests that were satisfied in each phase. This discussion offers useful insights for the current debate that unfolds amidst a deep capitalist crisis internationally and a particular monetary crisis in the European Union.