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Not a reference to an obnoxious European, but a term in finance for one consequence of the move to the euro. This becomes the currency of twelve European nations on 1 January 2002, replacing the franc, the mark and the lira, among others. The UK remains outside this group, but a survey recently showed that about half of Britain’s larger retailers will be accepting the euro as payment for goods. This is true even of chains whose proprietors are strongly opposed to Britain adopting the single currency — profits, it seems, are triumphing over principles. Many multinationals and foreign-owned companies based in Britain already require suppliers to invoice them in euros, and this is likely to become even more common in the future. Euro-creep is the tendency for EU nations outside the euro group to adopt it by stealth in this way; some economists expect it to lead to the UK adopting the euro whether it wants to or not.

The informal appearance of the euro is known in government circles as “euro-creep”. Its encouragement will become a central plank of the Prime Minister’s campaign to prepare the country for a referendum on the issue.

Observer, Nov. 2001

Whether or not Britain joined, Mr Fabius said, it was likely that euro notes and coins could be widely circulated in the UK. “The changeover will probably step up the ‘euro-creep’ phenomenon in the ‘out’ countries,” he said.

Financial Times, Dec. 2001

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Last modified: 22 December 2001.