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New currency
The euro is the currency of thirteen
European Union countries, stretching from
the Mediterranean to the Arctic Circle
(namely Belgium, Germany, Greece,
Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,
the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal,
Slovenia and Finland).
• History was made on 1st January 1999
  when eleven European Union countries
  (later to become twelve) irrevocably
  established the conversion rates between
  their respective national currencies and
  the euro and created a monetary union
  with a single currency, giving birth to the
The installation of euro currency is designed to
support the Euro system's objectives of defining
and implementing the monetary policy of the
euro area and promoting the smooth operation
of payment systems, thus contributing to the
integration and stability of the euro area money
market. The system has been designed in such
a way that it is able to process cross-border
payments denominated in euro as smoothly as if
they were domestic payments.
• Euro banknotes and coins have been in
  circulation since 1 January 2002 and are
  now a part of daily life for 315 million
  Europeans living in the euro area.
• As from 1 January 2008, the euro will also
  be the currency of Cyprus and Malta.
Euro area financial markets switched to
the euro, including foreign exchange,
share and bond markets. New euro area
government debt was exclusively issued in
euro as from that day.
   Why the euro? Benefits of the
         single currency
-Practical benefits for citizens: traveling with the euro
-Single market: reaping the full benefits of the EU's single market
-Single financial market: benefits for savers and borrowers
-Macroeconomic framework: benefits of a single currency to the
   economy as a whole
-Europe’s role in the world: advantages for Europe's international role
-Political integration: benefits related to the wider process of

   Academic research on the relative merits of fixed and flexible
   exchange rates (optimal currency area) also points to a number of
   economic challenges for countries participating in a single
   currency. These include increasing the mobility of labor and capital
   and encouraging trade and stronger competition.
Why the euro? Benefits of the
      single currency

Since the euro is a major international
currency, both savers and investors
benefit from increased opportunities
stemming from a larger financial market.
Gradually, the euro is also playing a more
important role in international trade and as
a reserve currency.

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