Brief History of the Euro

The European Union (EU) was founded in 1957 just 12 years after the end of the Second World War and set out to build what it described as a ‘common market’. However it became apparent very early on that if the EU was to achieve its economic goals each of the member countries would need to adopt a common currency.

The euro has been part of the financial landscape since 1 January 1999; it has been in our pockets since 1 January 2002. The creation of the single European currency took decades of preparation.

The Euro Makes its Debut

It wasn’t until 1999 that the euro really began its journey, when 11 countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) fixed their exchange rates and created a new currency with monetary policy passed to the European Central Bank.

In the beginning, the euro was an ‘invisible currency’ and was only used for accounting purposes. Three years later, in 2002, euro coins and notes came to circulation and national currencies were gradually withdrawn.

Over the years 8 more countries joined the club (Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia)

The first 10 years of the euro were marked by the currency establishing and enlargement. The second decade was largely overshadowed by the crisis.

Five euro zone countries (Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece) had to seek help due to the financial crisis and the subsequent sovereign debt crisis amid increased speculations over leaving the euro.

Euro Banknote and Coin Designs

The designs for the new banknotes and coins had been agreed in the mid to late nineties with production starting at the mints and printers some three and a half years before the physical currency was due to be launched. Euro banknotes and coins eventually came into being on 1st January 2002 with 7.4 billion notes and 38.2 billion coins been produced in readiness for this momentous date in European monetary history.

Benefits in the history of Euro

The Euro was implemented with the goal of creating a more stable European economy. Looking at the history of euro, we can see that the Euro improved economic growth across Europe and offered more integration among financial markets. The euro history also shows that the Euro currency strengthened European presence in the global economy through being a reserve currency. The history of euro also proves that the Euro helped ease exchange rate volatility among different European nations.