The Euro is the official currency of the area known as the Eurozone. The Eurozone is a scattered collection of European countries that have all agreed to put resources behind a unifying government and a unifying form of currency. The Euro is a printed currency and it also comes in coin form. Its ISO 4217 code is EUR. It is issued from the European Central Bank which is supported and administered by all of the countries that take part in the Eurozone. The Euro is rapidly replacing many of the regional currencies that had made European trade complicated. In some areas, the Euro has even taken on the name of the former regional currency. The Euro is circulated all around the world and is even the currency of choice for many African nations.
The way for the Euro was paved by the economic and political provisions made in the Maastricht Treaty which was signed in 1992 and unofficially established the Eurozone. When the 17 countries of the Eurozone finally agreed on a currency that would unify their economies, it became known as the Euro. The term “Euro” was said to be coined in a letter from European Commission president Jacques Santer dated August 4, 1995. The official term “Euro” was agreed to in a meeting of the European Commission in Spain on December 16, 1995.
Each Eurozone country was given three years for the currency conversion to the new money. But the conversions were not easy and many areas experienced confusion as well as economic peril. The exchange conversion rates were firmly established by the Council of the European Union. The most recent currency to undergo the conversion from regional currency to the Euro was the Estonian kroon. The converter rates for this currency were finally established on July 13, 2010.
Since January 1, 2001, six currencies have converted from regional to the Euro. Those currencies are:
- Greek drachma – January 1, 2001
- Slovenian tolar – January 1, 2007
- Cypriot point – January 1, 2008
- Maltese lira – January 1, 2008
- Slovak koruna – January 1, 2009
- Estonian kroon – January 1, 2011
Only 17 of the 27 countries recognized as being European participate in the Euro program.
In February 2012, it was determined that there are 890 billion Euros in circulation, which makes the Euro the largest currency in circulation in the world surpassing the United States dollar.
The Euro has been established as the second reserve currency of the global economy.
As of June 2012, the Euro is worth approximately 1.24 American dollars. This is the lowest value the Euro has seen and it is because of the financial problems in Greece and Spain.
It is estimated that approximately 330 million Europeans use the Euro daily.
The Euro is used by approximately 180 million people in other parts of the world which includes nearly 150 million users in the continent of Africa.
The European Central Bank is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany.
On January 2, 2002, the European Central Bank announced that it would be teaming up with the national central banks of the Eurozone countries to distribute and administer the Euro currency system.
Each country has its images on the back of the Euro coins. The front of the coin has the common Euro image, and there is a series of coins that have images significant to each of the countries of the Eurozone.
The denominations of the Euro include one Euro, two Euros, five Euros, 10 Euros, 20 Euros, 50 Euros, 100 Euros, 200 Euros, and 500 Euros.
The currency converter the Euro in the international market makes it one of the strongest currencies in the world.
The Eurozone is recognized as the second-largest economy in the world.
The Euro was used to replace the regional currencies that had existed for centuries. Because the financial nicknames had existed for so long, many locals refer to the Euro with the same nicknames given to the old regional currencies. Some of the Euro nicknames include:
- Ege – Finland
- Quid – England
- Teuro – Germany
- Ouro – Galician
- Juro – Hungary
The Euro is now the officially recognized currency of the 17 nations of the Eurozone. These nations include:
Other countries that recognize and use the Euro include: