On January 1, 2002 the euro became the single currency of 12 member states of the European Union. Next to the US dollar it has become the most important currency in the world.
There are seven bank notes ranging from the smallest, 5 euros, to the largest, 500 euros. The design competition was won by the Austrian Robert Kalina. The eight coins, ranging in value from 1 cent to 2 euros have different sizes and shapes so that you can better tell them apart. One side of the coin is the same in all member states, the other side has specific national symbols on them and designs that are different in each country.
The first series of Euro banknotes
Currently there are nineteen countries in the euro zone: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Cyprus. Small countries like Monaco, the Vatican, San Marino and Andorra also use the euro as a form of payment.
Countries of the Eurozone
Image : JLogan
Throughout the years there have been some challenges and problems within the Eurozone.
Thousands protesting in Greece against government austerity measures in 2011
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