The euro is the official currency of 19 of the 28 European Union countries. The euro was introduced by the EU in to the financial community in 1999 and physical euro coins and paper notes were introduced in 2002. Euros are printed and managed by the European System of Central Banks (ESCB).

The euro is abbreviated by the symbol "EUR."


The euro is the national currency of the EU member states who have adopted it, including Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Together, these countries create what is called the Eurozone, a region where the euro serves as a common national currency for all of the separate nations.

This has important benefits, such as removing exchange rate risk from businesses and financial institutions operating in an increasingly globalized economy. On the other hand, critics of the euro system argue that it produces negative consequences, such as concentrating the power to set monetary policy in the European Central Bank. This removes the ability of the EU's member nations to implement monetary policies specific to themselves, locking them into the monetary policy established for the entire Eurozone, even though local monetary conditions may differ substantially from the overall Eurozone.

One criticism of the euro is that it is the currency that its value is aligned to closely to the German economy, and other smaller nations that are at different stages of their economic cycle suffer. For example, if the German economy is booming, the euro is likely to be high. However, if another nation such as Spain is in an economic downturn it could use some relief with a weaker currency, and under the euro regime this is often not the case. 

The euro is the second most traded currency behind the U.S. dollar. 

  1. EUR

    The currency code used in the general industry to represent the ...
  2. European Monetary System - EMS

    The European Monetary System (EMS) is an arrangement between ...
  3. National Currency

    The currency or legal tender issued by a nation's central bank ...
  4. European Union - EU

    The European Union (EU) is a group of countries that acts as ...
  5. Euro STOXX 50 Index

    The Euro STOXX 50 Index is a market capitalization weighted stock ...
  6. European Economic and Monetary ...

    The European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) combined the European ...
Related Articles
  1. Tech

    How Would The Euro Trade If If A Grexit Occurs?

    In the event of a Grexit, the euro could head towards parity with the USD.
  2. Trading

    Behind The Euro: History And Future

    The euro was designed to create economic parity among eurozone nations. Discover where it's going and where it's been.
  3. Trading

    Why the Euro Failed to Become the World's Reserve Currency

    Examine the current state of the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency; learn the major reasons why the euro has failed to replace it in that capacity.
  4. Investing

    Here's What Will Happen if the Euro Fails

    What might happen if the European Union stopped using the euro or if the entire eurozone dissolved back into pre-EU nationalism.
  5. Insights

    Disbanding The Euro - A Worst-Case Scenario

    What would the fallout be if the world's second-largest currency disappears?
  6. Investing

    Is Quantitative Easing Destroying The Euro?

    Quantitative easing being undertaken by the ECB to stabilize the Eurozone economies is sure to have some impact in decreasing the value of the euro.
  7. Trading

    Why Is The Euro Falling?

    We look at the reasoning behind the selling pressure on the euro, and see how this can impact the average consumer.
  8. Trading

    Will The US Dollar Surpass The Euro?

    The euro is weakening as the European Union turns to quantitative easing to help its economic woes. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar is strengthening.
  9. Trading

    5 Economic Reports That Affect The Euro

    There are hundreds of reports affecting the FX market. Find out which ones are the most relevant for traders.
  1. When and why did the euro make its debut as a currency?

    On January 1, 1999, the European Union introduced its new currency, the euro. Originally, the euro was an overarching currency ... Read Answer >>
  2. Why is the U.S. dollar shown on the top of some currency pairs and on the bottom ...

    All currencies are traded in pairs. The first currency in the pair is called the base currency while the second is called ... Read Answer >>
  3. What developed countries have the greatest exposure to the automotive sector?

    Learn about the developed countries that have the greatest exposure to the automotive sector, Germany and Japan, which have ... Read Answer >>
  4. What is foreign exchange?

    Foreign exchange, or Forex, is the conversion of one country's currency into that of another. In a free economy, a country's ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Standard Deviation

    A measure of the dispersion of a set of data from its mean, calculated as the square root of the variance. The more spread ...
  2. Entrepreneur

    An Entrepreneur is an individual who founds and runs a small business and assumes all the risk and reward of the venture. ...
  3. Money Market

    The money market is a segment of the financial market in which financial instruments with high liquidity and very short maturities ...
  4. Perfect Competition

    Pure or perfect competition is a theoretical market structure in which a number of criteria such as perfect information and ...
  5. Compound Interest

    Compound Interest is interest calculated on the initial principal and also on the accumulated interest of previous periods ...
  6. Income Statement

    A financial statement that measures a company's financial performance over a specific accounting period. Financial performance ...
Trading Center