Euro Makes Its Debut
Common currency adopted in Europe
by David Johnson
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.
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.