20 years ago, on 1 January 2002, 12 EU countries introduced euro banknotes and coins. Three years earlier, the first countries had fixed their exchange rates, adopted a shared monetary policy under the European Central Bank, and launched their new common currency on world financial markets.
Today, the euro is the currency of 19 EU countries with more than 340 million people and the second most important currency in the world.
Euro notes and coins are a tangible, everyday reminder of the freedom, convenience and opportunities that the European Union makes possible.
The euro is a stable currency, so you can spend money safely and borrow and invest with confidence.
The euro has eliminated currency exchange, making it easier and cheaper to travel throughout the 19 countries of the euro area.
The euro makes it easier, cheaper and safer for businesses to buy and sell across the euro area and to trade with the rest of the world. The euro is used for almost 40% of global cross-border payments and for more than half the EU’s exports.
The euro makes it easier and cheaper to compare prices and shop abroad. A common currency supports a more transparent and competitive single market.
The euro lowers the costs of travelling and transferring money so that moving to another country to work, study or retire has never been simpler.