Eurosystem and euro area

The euro area − or eurozone, as it is often called − is the monetary union of 19 Member States of the European Union (EU) that have adopted the euro as their single currency.

The euro area came into being when responsibility for monetary policy was transferred from the national central banks of 11 EU Member States to the ECB in January 1999.

Greece became the 12th member of the euro area on 1 January 2001. Since 1 January 2015, the euro area comprises the following 19 countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

The creation of the euro area and the establishment of the European Central Bank was a milestone in the long and complex process of European integration.

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