Euro

Name of Currency: Euro
Country / countries used: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Vatican City
Symbol:
Brief history: 
The euro is the currency of the Eurozone, which consists of 17 European Union member states, it is also used by a further 5 European countries, which means that the currency is used daily by roughly 332 million people. There are also an additional 175 million people worldwide who use currencies that are pegged to the euro, including 150 million people in Africa. The name euro was officially adopted on the 16th of December 1995 and it was introduced as an accounting currency to the world financial markets on the 1st of January 1999, replacing the former European Currency Unit (ECU). Euro notes and coins entered circulation on the 1st of January 2002. The 30th of June 2002 was the last day that it was possible to change any old currency to euro at any bank for the original 12 member states. The euro is currently the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world behind the United States dollar. From February 2012, the Euro surpassed the US dollar in having the highest combined value of banknotes and coins in circulation throughout the world.
The currency is currently managed and administered by the European Central Bank (ECB) which is based in Frankfurt, Germany and the Eurosystem. The Eurosystem comprises of the central banks of the Eurozone and it participates in the printing, minting and coins in all member states. The ECB is an independent central bank and therefore, has sole authority to dictate monetary policy. The 1992 Maastricht Treaty states that most EU member states are obliged to adopt the euro if they meet with defined monetary and budgetary convergence criteria, although not all states have done so. The United Kingdom and Denmark have negotiated exemptions, while Sweden has not met the monetary and budgetary requirements but also turned down the euro in a 2003 referendum.
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