Europe

 

On 1 January 2002 the new euro banknotes and coins went into circulation. The euro is valid for the citizens of the 12 euro countries. Twelve Member States of the European Union are participating in the common currency. These countries are:

* Belgium
* Germany
* Finland
* France
* Greece
* Ireland
* Italy
* Luxembourg
* The Netherlands
* Austria
* Portugal
* Spain

Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom are members of the European Union, but do not currently participate in this single currency. Denmark participates in the Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II), which means that the Danish krone is pegged to the euro, but the exchange rate is not fixed.

Considerable work has preceded the introduction of our euro.

The Treaty of Rome in 1957 laid the foundation for the establishment of a single European market, with the aim to increase prosperity and contributing to "an ever closer union among the people of Europe''. The Single European Act (1986) and the Treaty on European Union (1992) built further on this with the introduction of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). This was the basis for our common currency. The third stage of EMU began on 1 January 1999, when the exchange rates of the participating currencies were irrevocably fixed. The Member States of the european area where starting to lead a common monetary policy. The euro was introduced as legal tender and the 11 national currencies were national denominations of the euro. On 1 January 2001, Greece joined, so there were 12 Member States that earlier year adopted the new euro banknotes and coins.

The success of the euro is crucial for a Europe in which there is free movement of people, services, capital and goods. The euro has become a part of history. This is the biggest currency change in world history.