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Shock, Confusion, Resignation, Amusement: Reaction to Monetary Crisis With

September 17, 1992

Shock, Confusion, Resignation, Amusement: Reaction to Monetary Crisis With AM-Europe-Currency-Crisis, Bjt

BONN, Germany (AP) _ Martin Mischke, a Bonn garage owner, blames his nation for causing the European currency crisis.

″This huge mess wouldn’t exist if our government had thought ahead and didn’t push so hard for German unity,″ Mischke said Thursday, referring to the high German interest rates that have contributed to Europe’s monetary turmoil.

Shock, fear, anger, resignation, confusion - these were some of the emotions felt by West Europeans as they sought to understand the monetary crisis that has convulsed financial markets this week.

In Britain, Spain and Italy, three countries hardest hit by the currency chaos, people worried about their jobs and complained of higher prices.

″My wife says meat and some fruits have already gotten more expensive,″ said Roberto Filippucci, a 39-year-old street cleaner in Rome. ″My salary has shrunk with this (lira) devaluation.

″And with all the government spending cuts, I’m certainly not going to get a raise.″

Patricia Johnston, secretary for a financial company in London, said: ″My boyfriend owns a business and he’s on the bread line as it is. I don’t know whether he’ll actually be able to keep going.″

In Madrid, insurance agent Chelo Trivino contemplated how many Spanish businesses might fail because of the monetary turbulence. ″I believe it will affect mostly the small businesses, which might end up having to close,″ he said.

Ed Stewart, sales clerk in a London men’s clothing store, seemed amused by the politicians’ and bankers’ seeming inability to calm things down.

″I think that they really haven’t got a clue what they’re doing,″ said Stewart. ″At the moment it’s really interesting to see them running around almost like headless chickens.″

In Germany, there seemed to be little concern among citizens about the currency chaos.

It is the deutsche mark, after all, that is standing taller than other European currency.

″I have just a little business. I can’t see how I’m going to be hurt by this,″ said Mischke, the Bonn garage mechanic.

But he was angry that his country’s interest rates - kept high to fight inflationary pressures resulting from the costs of unification in 1990 - are partially responsible for the currency troubles.

″There should not have been a united Germany, but two sovereign German states,″ Mischke said.