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The 15 Euro Zone
|Switzerland and Norway are neither in the EU nor euro countries. Die Schweiz continues to use the Swiss franc, and Norwegen its krone (crown).|
|Euro Sign: €|
| The official explanation of the euro symbol's design (€) is that it was inspired by the Greek letter epsilon and Greece's role as the cradle of European civilization. Another version claims that the sign's designer, the German Arthur Eisenmenger, simply used a variation of the first letter of his last name. In any event, each euro bill features the word EURO printed in Latin/Roman and Greek letters.
To type the € symbol on a North American keyboard, use ALT + 0128 (number keypad only) on a PC, or OPTION + shift 2 on a Mac. More about this on our Special Character Chart for German page.
|Deutsche Version dieser Seite.|
June 19: France, Germany and the Benelux countries sign the Schengen Agreement, abolishing border controls between their countries by 1995 and establishing closer cooperation in the areas of security and asylum. By 1992 Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece add themselves to the agreement.
Feb. 7: The 12 EC countries sign the Maastricht Treaty creating the new European Union (EU). The EU replaces the EC with a stronger political and economic union that goes into effect on Nov. 1, 1993.
Austria, Finland and Sweden join the EU, bringing the total of member countries to 15. The Schengen Agreement goes into effect on March 26, eliminating border controls for most EU countries and creating a new open market within the EU. December: The euro gets its name at an EU summit meeting in Madrid.
April: All border controls between Austria, Germany and Italy are abolished. May 3: Eleven EU countries agree on Jan. 1, 1999 as the date for European Monetary Union (EMU) and the birth of the euro. June 2: The European Central Bank (ECB) opens for business in Frankfurt am Main.
Jan. 1: The euro and the EMU (European Monetary Union) are born. The euro becomes the legal currency in eleven EU countries (along with national currencies) but will not go into cash circulation until Jan 1, 2002.
The euro celebrates its first birthday on Jan. 1. It is still a cashless currency used for euro zone bank accounts and stock market transactions. May 3: The EU Commission proposes that Greece become the 12th member nation in the EMU.
The euro celebrates its second birthday on Jan. 1. Sept. 1: Advance distribution of euro notes and coins to banks and businesses begins. Oct. 1: Prices must now be displayed in both euros and the national currency. Dec. 15: Advanced distribution of euro notes and coins to consumers begins. As of Monday December 17 financial institutions can distribute euro coin bags or Starter Kits to the general population.
Jan. 1: Euro banknotes and coins go into circulation in the 12-nation euro zone. (See euro country list above.) The euro can be used along with the traditional currency until the end of February, but consumers get change back in euros only. The national currency is no longer valid for bank accounts or cashless transactions. Travelers in the euro zone no longer have to exchange money as they move from one country to another. Prices are displayed in euros only.
Stamps/Briefmarken: On January 1, 2002, besides new coins and bills, there were also new euro stamps! Existing postage stamps in every euro country remained valid until June 30, 2002. Although they are marked in cents or euros, German stamps continue to display the country of origin: Deutschland. Questions about German stamps? Visit the Deutsche Post AG Web site. (Also in English). - Deutsche Post - Philatelie
Feb. 28: The former national currencies are no longer legal tender. The euro is the only money that can be used legally throughout the euro zone.
March 1: German commercial banks no longer have to exchange marks for euros, but old notes and coins can be exchanged indefinitely at any branch of the Bundesbank, the German central bank. (See Bundesbank - Filialen for the addresses of the 63 Bundesbank offices in Germany.)
Sept. 14: In a referendum Swedish voters say "nej" (no) to having their country adopt the euro. This is seen as a setback for adding other countries to "Euroland," particularly Great Britain.
Jan. 1: The euro celebrates its fifth birthday and Slovenia joins the euro zone as the 13th nation using the currency. As the euro entered its fifth year as a cash currency, it was trading at a rate of about $1.30. However, many Europeans were still not fond of the new money, despite the fact that it was becoming a strong competitor for the dollar. They often have the false impression that the euro has led to higher prices ("der Teuro"), although in fact, adjusted for inflation, prices in euros were not higher. The euro also makes it easier for people to compare prices for specific items among the euro countries.
Jan. 1: On the euro’s sixth birthday it was trading at a rate of about $1.45. In 2008 two more countries (Cyprus and Malta) join the euro zone, making a total of 15 nations now using the euro as their official currency.
Euro & Money Glossary
An annotated English-German glossary.
The euro online - in German and English.
Euro-Chronik 2 - Deutsch
The same euro facts and chronology on this page - in German.
NEXT > Euro-Quiz
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