On January 1, 2002 the euro became the single currency of 12 member states of the European Union. Next to the US dollar it has become the most important currency in the world.
There are seven bank notes ranging from the smallest, 5 euros, to the largest, 500 euros. The design competition was won by the Austrian Robert Kalina. The eight coins, ranging in value from 1 cent to 2 euros have different sizes and shapes so that you can better tell them apart. One side of the coin is the same in all member states, the other side has specific national symbols on them and designs that are different in each country.
Currently there are fifteen countries in the euro zone: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland . Slovenia , Malta and Cyprus. Small countries like Monaco, the Vatican, San Marino and Andorra also use the euro as a form of payment.
Advantages of the euro
Many experts have argued over the past years that a single currency can help member states move closer together and unify the EU. But there are also other good sides of a single currency:
- Businesses that traded with other EU countries were often not sure how much they had to pay in foreign currencies because the exchange rates often changed.
- Consumers can compare prices in different EU countries more easily.
- Tourists who cross borders on their way to holiday destinations no longer have to exchange their money.
- Through the euro trade between countries has increased.
- Making payments to banks in other countries has become easier.
- The Europeans Central Bank controls the amount of money in each country. The value of the euro is always the same , inflation is very low.
Disadvantages of the euro
- Although the euro has brought along many advantages in member states, the launch of the new currency has cost a lot of money:
- Billions were spent in producing the new currency, changing accounting systems, introducing new software, signs, vending machines and phone booths.
- In addition many hours were spent training employees, managers and consumers.
- Many people argue that the euro has made living more expensive in various countries. Prices have gone up.
- Some nations like Great Britain, Sweden and Denmark have chosen not to introduce the single currency, because they fear it would weaken their independence and they would lose power in their own country.
The European Union- Table of Contents
- History of the European Union
- Organs and Institutions of the EU
- What the European Union has done for you
- The Euro - Europe's Single Currency
- Enlargement of the European Union
- Turkey and the European Union
- The EU - 50 Years of Rivalry
- Facts and Figures
The European Union- Exercises
- EU - Member States
- European Union - Vocabulary Matching Exercise 1
- European Union - Vocabulary Matching Exercise 2
- European Union - Order of events
- European Union - Organs and Institutions - Fill in the missing word
- Turkey and the European Union - Fill in the missing words
- European Union - Crossword
Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets:
- European Central Bank Stops Printing 500-Euro Banknote
- Financial Crisis in Ireland
- Canada Starts Printing Plastic Banknotes
- accounting = bookkeeping
- advantage = the good side of something
- although = while
- amount = how much of something
- argue = to give reasons about something
- border = the line that separates countries
- business = company
- coin = a piece of metal that is used as money
- compare = contrast, put side by side
- competition = a situation in which people or organizations try to be better than others
- consumer = people who buy things
- currency = the money of a country
- currently = right now
- design = what something looks like
- destination = a place that someone or something is going to
- employee = someone who is paid to work for someone else
- exchange = to change into another currency
- exchange rate = the value of money of one country compared to the money of another country
- foreign = something from another country
- in addition = also
- increase = to go up
- independence = freedom
- inflation = when prices always go up
- introduce = to use or start something for the first time
- launch = start
- payment = a way of paying for something
- phone booth = a small box that you can go into to phone a person
- range = from .... to .....
- shape = what something looks like; form
- specific = special
- trade = to buy and sell things
- unify = to make countries come together and work together in a better way
- value = what something is worth
- various = different
- vending machine = a machine that you can get cigarettes, newspapers etc. from by putting money in.
- weaken = to make something less powerful or less important