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Wall Street Journal: Embattled Economies Cling to Euro

Authors: Marcus Walker, and Alessandra Galloni
February 12, 2013

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"Nowhere is this more heartfelt than in Italy. The euro is more than a currency: It is the strongest symbol of belonging to Europe, a relationship that many Italians hope can teach them better governance."

The euro has weighed on winemaker Elio Grasso for years. The currency's high exchange rate shaves into profits of his U.S. exports, while his domestic customers suffer in Italy's long recession.

But the silver-haired maker of Barolo wines doesn't want Italy to abandon the euro. "If we were on our own, we'd have bigger problems than Greece," he said in the cavernous cellar below his vineyard.

Europe's common currency has left the continent's southern countries depressed, indebted and struggling to compete internationally. But even in the tumult of Italy's national election campaign this month, the question of euro membership isn't being seriously debated. In Italy, as in Spain, Portugal and other crisis-hit countries, popular support for the euro remains strong.

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