The development of the Euro originates from the preamble of The Treaty of Rome. In 1957, the Treaty aimed to achieve "an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe" by creating a unified European common market with economic prosperity. The Single European Act (1986) and the European Union Maastricht Treaty (1992), which introduced the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) with the ultimate aim of introducing a single currency, furthered this goal. This occurred in December 1995 at an EU summit in Madrid when the dates to introduce the single monetary unit were fixed.
On January 1, 1999 the Euro became the official currency for more than 300 million people in Europe. It was first introduced as an accounting or electronic currency in 2001 (ECU), and in 2002 became legal tender in 12 EU member states. Within the next few months participating countries phased out their existing currencies and for the most part the transition was smooth. Based on the market rates of 31 December 1998, the Council of the European Union set the conversion rates.
The European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt controls the Euro monetary policy, while the European system of central banks (ESCB) is responsible for printing, minting, and distributing the currency. The Euro system is composed of the ECB and the national banks of the 12 participating EU countries. The ECB aims to maintain stability of the Euro, ensure growth and keep inflation low.
The Euro is the official currency of the area known as the Eurozone. The most popular Euro exchange rate is the USD to EUR rate. The currency code for Euros is EUR, and the currency symbol is .
The Eurozone is a scattered collection of European countries that have all agreed to put resources behind a unifying government and a unifying form of currency. The Euro is a printed currency and it also comes in coin form. Its ISO 4217 code is EUR. The Euro is rapidly replacing many of the regional currencies that had made European trade complicated. In some areas, the Euro has even taken on the name of the former regional currency. The Euro is circulated all around the world and is even the currency of choice for many African nations.
A number of sovereign states that are not part of the European Union have since adopted the Euro, including the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of San Marino, and the Vatican City. The Euro is also used in many territories, departments, and sovereign states of Euro-zone countries, such as the Azores, Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Europa Island, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Juan de Nova, the Madeira Islands, Martinique, Mayotte, Reunion, Saint-Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, to name just a few. The Euro is used as a trading currency in Cuba, North Korea, and Syria and several currencies are pegged to it.
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