The Euro is the single currency for Member States of the European Union, nowadays used by some 334 million people. The euro entered into circulation on 1st January 2002, in order to replace the existing currencies such as the peseta, the franc, the drachma or the escudo.
Ever since its birth and until now, a total of nineteen countries out of the twenty-eight forming the European Union have gradually adopted the euro, thus forming the so-called Eurozone. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Lithuania was the last country to enter the Eurozone on January 1st 2015.
However, other 9 countries in the European Union have not adopted the euro, such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Romania and Sweden.
There are a total of seven denominations of legal tender euro banknotes: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500. These notes are all identical for all the countries that use this currency, and their designs reflect the most representative architectural styles of seven ages of the cultural history of Europe. Discover all these notes at the website of the European Central Bank.
On 2nd May 2013 the new €5 note of the Europa series entered into circulation, incorporating a new design and improved security measures.
As for the coins there are eight different denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and 1 and 2 euro coins. One common side and one national which identifies the issuing country.
The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) decides the amount of euro notes issued each year and the total value of the coins issued by each country.
As the Bank of Spain indicates, the euro cash currency, as payment instrument, boasts some unique characteristics:
For these reasons, the amount of euro banknotes in circulation has increased continually since it was first issued and this currency has become a reference for the whole Eurozone.
Date of creation:
1st January 1999 as virtual currency for non-monetary payments and for accounting purposes.
Date of issue:
1st January 2002
European Central Bank.
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