The Mark of Europe
The Euro is an intriguing currency and is the world’s second largest reserve currency behind the $US Dollar. It is a clear sign of European Identity and has made it easier, cheaper and safer for businesses to buy and sell within the euro area and to trade with the rest of the world.
Beyond a doubt, it is one of the signature features of the European Union (EU); a unique economic and political union of independent countries which today comprises 27 nations and over 400 million people.
The EU was formed in the aftermath of WWII with the intent of bringing the powers of Europe together to halt the frequent wars and conflicts that were so prevalent within the last two centuries.
An economic and monetary union (EMU) was a recurring ambition for the European Union from the late 1960s onwards. This involves coordinating economic and fiscal policies, a common monetary policy, and a common currency; The EURO € .
A single currency offers many advantages: it makes it easier for companies to conduct cross-border trade, the economy becomes more stable, and consumers have more choice and opportunities. In 1998 the European Central Bank (ECB) was established to manage the new currency.
Based in Frankfurt, Germany, the ECB is an independent and neutral body headed by an appointed president who is approved by all member countries to serve an eight-year term. A single currency makes the euro zone a more attractive region for non-EU countries to do business with, thus promoting trade and investment.
Supporters of the euro argued that a single European currency would boost trade by eliminating foreign exchange fluctuations and reducing prices.
Unlike most of the national currencies that they replaced, euro banknotes do not display famous national figures. The seven colorful bills, designed by the Austrian artist Robert Kalina and ranging in denomination from €5 to €500, are intently symbolized to portray the unity of Europe and feature a map of Europe, the EU’s flag, and arches, bridges, gateways, and windows.
The eight euro coins range in denomination from one cent to two euros. The coins feature one side with a common design; the reverse sides’ designs differ in each of the individual participating countries.
About The EUrO €
- In 1999, The euro was launched as a virtual currency
- In 2002, The euro goes mainstream and around 8 billion euro banknotes and 38 billion euro coins begin to circulate.
- Since 2021, there are 19 member countries of the European Union that use the euro as the official currency. They include: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.
- Four non-EU territories also use the euro: Andorra, Vatican City, Monaco, and San Marino.
- Countries using the Euro can no longer print their own currency
- Adopting the Euro means Countries give up their fiscal autonomy
- In 2007, Slovenia became the first former Communist Country to adopt the Euro
- The name “the euro” was chosen in 1995 by a European Council meeting in Madrid.
- The Euro is spelled, “’ευρώ” in the Greek alphabet
- All Euro area countries are eligible to adopt the euro as the central currency but they first must meet a number of criteria that demonstrates their economies have achieved a high level of macroeconomic stability.