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Facts about the euro

Facts about the euro

The euro in numbers

The euro helps keep prices stable

The euro encourages trade, competition and price transparency. It also helps to keep prices stable in the euro area. The ECB is responsible to ensure price stability by aiming for an inflation rate of 2% over the medium-term. 

Inflation convergence: euro area (annual % increase)

Source: European Commission - AMECO database.

The euro is the second most important currency in the world

The proportion of international payments made in euros and US dollars is roughly equal and the euro is the world’s second favourite currency for borrowing, lending and central bank reserves. Over half of global green bond issuance is denominated in euro.

The share of euro in global payments (2020)

Source: ECB report on the international role of the euro 2021.

Stable and strong support for the euro

Currently close to four out to five (78%) citizens of euro area countries believe that the euro is good for the EU.

Stable and strong support for the euro

Source: Eurobarometer, autumn 2021.

The euro has helped make it cheaper for European home buyers, businesses and governments to borrow money

Because the European Central Bank ensures the stability of the euro and prices, it has become easier and cheaper for Europeans to borrow money at this point in time. Lower borrowing costs make it cheaper for Europeans to get mortgages and for European businesses to finance investment.

Average interest rate on housing loans

Source: ECB.

The euro helps promote trade within Europe and beyond

The stability of the euro makes it attractive for businesses around the world trading with Europe to accept prices quoted in euros. This saves European businesses from the costs of currency movements and the cost of converting euros into other currencies. It also makes it much easier and cheaper for countries using the euro to trade with each other! 60% of extra-euro area were invoiced in euros in 2020.

Extra-euro area exports by currency (2017)

Source: ECB.

Living standards and employment have risen significantly under the euro

Since the euro was introduced in 1999, the average income in the euro area (EA19) has risen from € 20,900 to €33,230 (2020). Over the same time, the percentage of people in employment has risen from 63.6% to 71.8 (2020) %. 

Nominal GDP per capita in the euro area (in thousands EUR)

Source: European Commission - AMECO database/Eurostat.

Employment rate in the euro area (population aged 20-62)

Source: European Commission - AMECO database/Eurostat.

The euro has protected euro area economies from exchange rate volatility

The euro has eliminated the costs of currency movements within the euro area and protected European consumers and businesses from costly swings in currency markets, which in some countries, used to undermine confidence, discourage investment and cause economic instability.

Did you know?


The design of the euro banknotes is based on the different architectural styles that have emerged throughout Europe’s history and have marked its culture. On the front of the banknotes, windows and doorways symbolise the European spirit of openness and cooperation. On the back, bridges symbolise communication between the people of Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world.

The styles shown are:

  • €5: Classical
  • €10: Romanesque
  • €20: Gothic
  • €50: Renaissance
  • €100: Baroque and rococo
  • €200: 19th century iron & glass architecture
€5: Classical



The euro coins have a common side and a national side. The national sides indicate the issuing country, whereas the common sides show images of the European Union or of Europe and symbolise the unity of the EU. The 5, 2 and 1 cent coins show Europe in relation to Africa and Asia.

The common sides of the euro coins are:

Euro cent 1
Euro cent 2
Euro cent 5
Euro cent 10
Euro cent 20
Euro cent 50
Euro 1
Euro 2



million Europeans
The euro is shared by over 340 million Europeans. 60 countries and territories, representing 175 million people, have pegged their own currencies to the euro either directly or indirectly.
billion banknotes
In August 2021, there were 27.4 billion euro banknotes in circulation with a value of about EUR 1.5 trillion.
note most used
The 50 euro note is the most widely used in the euro area, with more than 13 billion banknotes in circulation.
billion coins
There are almost 140 billion coins in circulation, with a total value of over EUR 31 billion.
cash payments
In 2019 in the euro area around 73% of all payments were made with cash, 24% with cards and 3% with other payment instruments. In 2020, 40% of respondents in an ECB survey said that they have used less cash since the start of the pandemic.

Use in other territories

In addition to the euro area, the euro is also the currency of some non-EU countries:

  • Andorra
  • Kosovo (This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.)
  • Montenegro
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • Vatican City

The euro is also used in territories outside the European continent:

  • Azores and Madeira (Portugal)
  • Canary Islands (Spain)
  • Ceuta and Melilla (Spain)
  • French Guyana
  • French islands in the Caribbean
  • Mayotte and Réunion (France)
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France)

The euro outside Europe