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Euro Makes Its Debut

Common currency adopted in Europe

by David Johnson
The Euro

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On January 2, 2002, the new European currency, the euro, became official in 12 countries, known as the eurozone. The original currencies were no longer accepted in transactions after Feb. 28, 2002.

The 12 nations that adopted the euro are: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. With a population of slightly more than 300 million people, the eurozone became one huge market.

The euro countries all belong to the political organization, the European Union (EU). Denmark, United Kingdom, and Sweden have not adopted the euro, although they may do so in the future.

New Members Join

Cyprus, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined the EU in 2004. These former Communist nations with weak economies and high inflation welcomed EU membership since it brought easy access to western European markets. The following countries adopted the euro: Slovenia (2007), Cyprus (2008), Malta (2008), Slovakia (2009), Estonia (2011), and Latvia (2014). Joining the eurozone also made it easier for rich countries, such as Germany, to invest in Eastern Europe.

The Euro Denominations