History of the euro - Historical review

The changeover from the national currencies to euro is the world's largest monetary changeover ever. In this venture participated the banking sector, cash courier companies, retailers, the automated teller machine industry the professional cash handlers and the general public.

Euro banknotes and coins were put into circulation in 2002, but the planning and the preparations for their introduction had already begun since the beginning of the 1990's.

The Treaty on the European Union, singed in Maastricht on 7 February 1992, describes the responsibilities of the European Central Bank (ECB), as well as of the governments and the national central banks of the countries of the euro area, as regards to the issue of euro banknotes and coins. On 1 January 2002, euro banknotes and coins were put into circulation in 12 countries, including Greece.

The changeover was finalized in two months and the national banknotes and coins of the 12 countries ceased to be legal tender at the end of February 2002.

Today, after Latvia and Lithuania joined the euro area on 1 January 2014 and 2015 respectively, euro has been adopted by 19 countries and is the single currency for more than 340 million Europeans.

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