The Euro, €, abbreviated EUR, is the official currency used by the eurozone member nations of the Institution of the European Union. As of 20117 of the 27 current members of the European Union use the euro: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain. Approximately 332 million europeans currently use the euro, in addition to 175 million non europeans across 23 countries and territories whose currencies are pegged directly to the euro. As of late 2012, there was €915 billion in circulation. The euro is the second most traded currency in the world after the U.S. dollar. The euro is opposed by many europeans as causing widespread inflation and financial instability to many EU member nations, yet many agree that international travel and trade amongst EU countries has become easier and less expensive through the adoption of the euro.
Euro coins and banknotes first entered circulation in the European Union on January 1st, 2002, and have traded in value above the USD since late 2002. The member countries that use the euro are known collectively as the Eurozone. When plans for the euro were first accepted in 1998, only 11 member states initially agreed or were eligible to adopt the euro as their national currency. Germany was the first country to denounce its previous legal tender, (the Deutsch Mark), in place of the euro, in late December 2001. As of late 2012, three countries have opted out of joining other eurozone countries in adopting the euro: the Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Sweden.
Decimal Unit: 100 eurocents
Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 eurocents; 1, 2 euro
Notes: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, and €500
Central Bank: European Central Bank
Country(ies): European Union member countries/Eurozone member countries
Euro coins and banknotes are both commonly used throughout the EU. Euro coins are subdivided into 100 euro cents much like the American dollar’s 100 cents, into coin values of 1 euro cent, 2 euro cents, 5 euro cents, 10 euro cents, 20 euro cents, 50 euro cents, and €1 and €2 coins. Euro coins all share a common side, depicting the coin value and an outline of the European continent in the background. This common side was designed by Luc Luycx. All reverse sides of the euro coins are uniquely designed to represent their European country of origin. Euro coins of all member nations are used freely in any Eurozone country.
Euro banknotes are circulated in euro values of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, and €500. Euro banknotes were designed by Robert Kalin, with each banknote value having its own color and slight variation in size.