Yesterday saw the 20th anniversary of the euro, the common currency used in 19 Member States.
The euro, used by around 340 million Europeans, has contributed to stable prices, lower transaction costs and increased trade throughout the eurozone and beyond; with around 60 other international currencies linked to the euro in various forms. Launched on 1 January 1999, it was initially adopted by 11 Member States; by the 20th anniversary of the euro it had become the second most used currency in the world.
Public support for the euro has been consistently high, particularly in Member States which already use the common currency. As the 20th anniversary of the euro approached, a record 74 per cent of respondents within the eurozone said they thought the euro was largely beneficial to the EU; while 64 per cent of eurozone respondents said they thought the euro had been good for their own country. 36 per cent of respondents across all Member States identified the euro as one of the main symbols of the EU – the second highest result behind “freedom”.
In a statement marking the 20th anniversary of the euro, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “As one of the only signatories of the Maastricht Treaty still politically active today, I remember the hard-fought and momentous negotiations on the launch of the Economic and Monetary Union. More than anything, I recall a deep conviction that we were opening a new chapter in our joint history. A chapter that would shape Europe’s role in the world and the future of all its people. On the 20th anniversary of the euro, I am convinced that this was the most important signature I ever made. The euro has become a symbol of unity, sovereignty and stability. It has delivered prosperity and protection to our citizens and we must ensure that it continues to do so. This is why we are working hard to complete our Economic and Monetary Union and boost the euro’s international role further.”