The euro was introduced as an accounting currency on January 1, 1999 in correspondence with the Maastricht Treaty. Used by the European Union (EU), the euro zone includes France, Austria, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Spain. The currency is also used in five other European countries creating a total of over 330 million euro using Europeans. The euro is the second highly traded currency following the United States and the second biggest reserve currency.
- European Commission: Description and basic information on euro coins and banknotes from the Commission of Economic and Financial Affairs.
- Official European Union Web Site: General information, institutes and bodies, policies and history of the EU.
- European Central Bank: Here you will learn about the history, monetary policy, financial stability, banknotes and educational information.
Each euro is worth one hundred cents, commonly known as euro-cents, and has a common side and a national side. On the common side of the coin, the value is engraved as well as a map that can be seen in the background. Besides the one, two and five cent euro coins, each map contains the “15 Member States” which recognize the members involved when the euro was introduced. In 2007, this map was replaced with a map of Europe which includes new outside countries, such as Norway with an exception of the one, two and five cent coins. The national side of the euro contains an image which is chosen by the country that issued that particular coin. Euro coins are issued in €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c and 1c in value while notes are issued in €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5. Each euro banknote bears the signature of the President of the European Central Bank and has its own color. The front side of the banknote features gateways while the back side has a bridge design, both created by Austrian illustrator, Robert Kalina.
- Origin of the Euro: Find answers to all your basic euro questions, such as how does this new currency work, which countries have joined and what does the currency look like.
- How to Identify Euro Coins: Look at images of each of the euro coin to properly identify each side of the eight denominations.
The framework for the establishment of the European monetary union began in the late 1980’s but wasn’t accepted until 1991 with the signed Maastricht Treaty. The idea was to create the currency through three main stages. Stage one started on July 1 of 1990 with the free movement of capital and the convergence criteria assignment. Stage two began on January 1, 1994 and included the establishment of the European Monetary Institute (EMI), national bank independent, and the stop of financing using monetary instruments in budget deficit. Stage three concluded the requirements on January 1, 1999 and resulted in one single currency and one common bank, the European Central Bank (ECB). There are several benefits to the development of the euro. There are no longer fees involved in changing currencies to firms and tourists who trade in the euro zone. It’s also easier to compare the price of good within European countries which enables firms to sell cheaper raw materials and consumers purchase cheaper goods. The ECB is committed to keep inflation low and inward investment may increase as firms use lower transaction costs in the EU.
- HM Treasury: Here you will find information on the euro and the sixteen Member States of the European Union.
- Europe’s New Currency: An overview of the Pacific Exchange Rate Service and a time table of events.
The euro was adopted in 1999 as a single currency to stabilize and strengthen the economy. Many goals of the euro have been reached, improving economic growth across Europe and integration among financial markets.
- The Euro Currency System: The European Union timeline and the future in store for the euro and euro-using countries.
- Benefits of the Euro: Read through the top eight benefits of the euro and how it affects business and consumer costs.
- Studies of the European Union: Learn about the benefits and costs of the euro, evaluation of the draft constitution and analysis of the economic policies.