The euro is one of the strongest and most stable currencies in the world. It the official currency of 17 countries of the European Union, a union established to help provide economic security and legal harmony between the geographically limited nations of Europe. The 17 countries that use the euro as their official currency are collectively known as Eurozone. Eurozone includes Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Finland, Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Greece, Cyprus and Estonia. Five other countries that are not part of Eurozone also use the Euro: Andorra, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and the Vatican. The total number of people who use the Euro on a day-to-day basis is approximately 327 million. The currency systems of several other nations are pegged to the Euro, making them reliant on the currency for their own economic stability.
The euro was decided upon as a name for Eurozone’s currency in 1995, and it was introduced to the world financial market in 1999 for accounting purposes. Euro currency, in the form of coins and banknotes, began circulating in 2002. The euro is administrated by both the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany and the central banks of each Eurozone nation. All official policy is set by the European Central Bank as the sole authority over all legal and economic matters having to do with the Euro. The central banks participate in the system by manufacturing and distributing the actual coins and banknotes and by operating all of the Eurozone payment systems. While all nations that meet certain economic standards are obliged to adopt the euro by the Maastricht Treaty, both the U.K. and Denmark successfully requested exemptions and retain separate currencies.
The euro is a standard decimal monetary system with 100 cents equal to one euro. Coins are issued in denominations of 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 euro and 2 euros. However, Finland and the Netherlands round all transactions to the nearest 5 cents. All coins depict a map of the Eurozone countries and the denomination on one side. The other side depicts an image chosen by the country that issued the coin. Euro banknotes have the same design on both sides. Each note is printed in a separate colour. Banknotes are issued in the following denominations: 5 EUR, 10 EUR, 20 EUR, 50 EUR, 100 EUR, 200 EUR and 500 EUR.