Which countries are using the Euro?

Which countries are using the Euro? + 8 Interesting facts about the Euro!

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(Last updated on: 10/05/2022)

If you are wondering which countries are using the Euro then you have come to the right place! In this article I will introduce you to the Euro currency, why it is good and why it might not be so good and I will tell you which countries are using the Euro and which countries hope to join the Euro soon. Ready to learn more? Read on…

What is the Euro?

Introduced in 1999, the Euro is now the major currency used in the European Union. So which countries are using the Euro? Well, this currency is used by 19 EU member states and some other European Union territories. It is the official currency of the European Union and the group of countries that use the Euro are referred to as the Eurozone.

When considering which countries are using the Euro it is important to note that the Euro is a big and powerful currency- it is the second-largest and second most traded currency in the world, behind the United States Dollar. The Euro is issued by the European Central Bank. There are approximately 343 million people who live within the Eurozone, and therefore who use the currency on a day-to-day basis.

The maths behind the Euro is simple- one Euro is made up of 100 Cents. Denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Euros are frequently used and there are bank notes as large as 200 and 500, although these are not used very often. Coins that are commonly used include 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 euro, and 2 euro.

Which countries are using the Euro?

The history of the Euro

Which countries are using the Euro? Well in order to fully understand which countries are using the Euro and why we first need a little bit of background on how the Euro came to be.

Back in the 1960s the European Union had ambitions to develop an economic and monetary union (EMU). An EMU involves coordinating economic and financial policies, a common monetary policy, and a common currency- the Euro.

However this ambition was initially met with a number of political and economic obstacles. There was weak political commitment, divisions over economic priorities, and instability in the international markets. All of these factors meant that initial progress towards the implementation of the Euro was slow. It took until 1979 for the European Monetary System (EMS)to finally be launched.

After this time there were still a number of agreements that had to be finalised and put into place, including The Delors Report which proposed a three-stage preparatory period for economic and monetary union and the euro area, and the new Treaty on European Union which was agreed at the European Council in 1991.

Finally then, after more than a decade of preparations, the Euro was launched on 1 January 1999. To begin the currency was used only for accounting purposes and electronic payments and the first Coins and banknotes were finally launched on 1 January 2002. There were 12 EU countries involved in the biggest cash changeover in history to ever take place.

What are the benefits of using the Euro?

When asking which countries are using the Euro we need to understand why countries would choose to change their existing currency in exchange for the Euro. There are many advantages to the Euro. A single currency makes it easier for companies and individuals to conduct cross-border trade, it helps to stabalise the economy and it makes travelling between countries easier when it comes to money exchanges.

The use of a single currency is also beneficial to the global economy. A single currency makes the Euro zone a more attractive region for non-EU countries to do business with, which therefore helps to promote trade and investment.

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Why do some countries choose not to use the Euro?

However, not all countries think that the Euro is a good thing, hence why you are probably asking the question which countries are using the Euro?.

Some countries, despite being in the European Union, choose not to adopt the Euro as their currency. The main reasons for this are because they want to maintain control of their monetary policies and they do not wish to deal with issues specific to each country.

The reality is that each country is different and a blanket currency with its associated policies may not be the best option for all. After all, what is good for one country might not be so good for another as nations have different financial needs and challenges to address. As a result, most EU countries that have not joined the Euro have done so in order to maintain economic independence.

Interesting facts about the Euro

I know that you are reading this article to find out which countries are using the Euro, but first you will surely want to hear these interesting facts….!

The Euro symbol has Greek heritage

The Euro symbol (€) was inspired by the Greek epsilon (ϵ). This is the first letter of the word Europe and was crossed by two parallel lines to demonstrate the stability of the Euro.

Euro banknotes are made from sustainable materials

Yes, you heard that right- the Euro bank notes are made from cotton! Well, they are actually cotton fibres which are known as cotton noils. These are wastes from the textile industry (great new for sustainability!). In fact, in 2019, over 50% of the 5,210 tons of cotton fibres used to make Euro banknotes were certified as originating from sustainable sources and the target is for this to reach 100% in the near future.

The Euro was one of the first digital currencies

Did you think digital currency was a thing of the future? Well it seems it is a thing of the past too! When the Euro was first launched it was completely online and it took three years for the first bank notes and coins to be distributed. So in answer to the question ‘which countries are using the Euro?’ the answer at first was… none (physically at least)!

The introduction of the Euro caused the biggest cash changeover in history

As I am sure you can appreciate, changing currencies across multiple countries all at the same time is no easy feat! Introducing the Euro brought 15 billion notes and 52 billion coins into circulation in a matter of weeks. Extremely strict security was needed and people had to learn about their new currency and its security features, such as holograms and watermarks.

The Euro isn’t only used in Europe

This is one of the most surprising facts to learn when asking which countries are using the Euro- In addition to being the currency of 19 EU countries, the Euro is also the official currency of Kosovo, Montenegro, and the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia- more about this further down in this article.

The designs on the Euro notes are fake

The current banknote series, called the Europa series, features windows and doors on one side, symbolising the European value of openness, and bridges on the other, which symbolises communication. Each Euro note has an important European architectural style, but none of the windows, doors, or bridges are actually real! That was until Dutch designer, Robin Stam, replicated these fictional bridges in the Dutch town of Spijkenisse.

The Euro is one of the least forged currencies in the world

Forged currencies is a big problem in many parts of the world, but not so much in the Eurozone! The amount of counterfeit Euro notes in circulation is small and at a record low. In 2020, only 17 in every 1 million notes was identified as a forgery- this is one of the best ratios of any major currency in the world! Why is it so hard to forge a Euro note? It has a range of security features from holograms and watermarks to microprinting and features that are only visible under an ultra violet light.

Every Euro note can be traced

Want to hide where your money has come from? Not so easy with the Euro! The Europa series of ban notes have special serial numbers on them to make them identifiable.

Which countries are using the Euro?

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So which countries are using the Euro and which countries are not using the Euro? I have outlined this information for you in the table below-

Name of countryWhen did they start using the Euro?What was their previous currency?How many people live there?
Andorra(though not part of the EU)1st April 2012both French Franc and Spanish Peseta77,265
Austria1st January 1999Schilling9,006,398
Belgium1st January 2002Belgian Franc11,589,623
Cyprus1st January 2008Cyprus Pound1,207,359
Estonia1st January 2011Kroon1,326,535
Finland1st January 2002Markka5,540,720
France1st January 2002French Franc67.39 million
Germany1st January 2002 Deutsche Mark83,783,942
Greece1st Janaury 2002Drachma10,423,054
Ireland1st Janaury 2002Irish Pound4,937,786
Italy1st January 2002Lira60,461,826
Kosovo2002Deutsche Mark1,873,999
Latvia1st Janaury 2014Latvian Lats1,886,198
Malta1st Janaury 2008Maltese Lira441,543
Monaco1st January 1999Monegasque Franc39,242
Montenegro2002Yugoslav Dinar628,066
Netherlands1st January 1999Guilder17,134,972
Portugal1st January 2002Escudo10,196,709
San Marino1st September 2012Lira33,931
Slovenia1st January 2007Slovenian Tolar2,078,938
Slovakia1st January 2009Slovak Koruna5,459,642
Spain1st January 2002Peseta46,754,778
Vatican City2002Vatican Lira825
Akrotiri and Dhekelia2008Cypriot Pound18,195
French Southern and Antarctic Lands2002French Franc200-400 permanent scientists and military personnel.
Saint Bathelemy2002French Franc9,877
Saint Martin2002French Franc38,666
Saint Pierre and Miquelon2002Saint Pierre and Miquelon Franc5,794
BulgariaTBC Bulgarian Lev 6,948,445
CroatiaTBC Croatian Kuna 4,105,267
DenmarkTBC Danish Krone5,792,202
HungaryTBCHungarian Forint9,660,351
PolandTBC Polish Zloty37,846,611
RomaniaTBC Romanian Leu19,237,691
SwedenTBC Swedish Krona10,099,265
Czech RepublicTBCCzech Koruna10,745,656

Which countries are using the Euro outside of the European Union?

One fact that I think is really interesting is that not all countries that are using the Euro are member of the European Union or located in Europe!

Additional countries that unofficially or partially use the Euro, include-

  • Kosovo
  • Montenegro
  • Zimbabwe

In addition to this, some countries are part of the Single Euro Payments Area. In this area, bank transfers of the euro are simplified. These nations are: 

  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom.

Which countries are not using the Euro but have a fixed exchange rate to the Euro?

A fixed exchange rate, sometimes referred to as a pegged exchange rate, is an exchange rate regime whereby a currency’s value is fixed or pegged by a monetary authority against the value of another currency. If you are asking which countries countries are using the Euro then this is something to also consider as although these countries might not use the Euro specifically, their currency is tied to the value of the Euro.

Currencies which are not using the Euro but have a fixed exchange rate to the Euro include:

CurrencyValue
Convertible Mark1 EUR = 1.9558 BAM
Bulgarian Lev1 EUR = 1.9558 BGN
Cape Verdean Escudo1 EUR = 110.2650 CVE
Danish Krone1 EUR = 7.4604 DKK
Comorian Franc1 EUR = 491.9678 KMF
Central African Franc1 EUR = 655.9570 XAF
West African Franc1 EUR = 655.9570 XOF
Pacific Franc1 EUR = 119.3317 XPF

Which countries are using the Euro? Further reading

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