The Euro (currency sign: €; banking code: EUR) is the
official currency of the European Union member states
of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain - also known as the Eurozone. The currency is also used in a further six European countries, with and without formal agreements, and is consequently used daily by some 327 million Europeans. Over 175 million people worldwide use currencies which are pegged to the euro, including more than 150 million people in Africa.
The name euro was officially adopted on 16 December 1995 and
was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting
currency in 1 January 1999 and launched as physical coins and
banknotes in 1 January 2002. On 1 December 2009 the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, and with it the euro became the official currency of the European Union. All EU member states are eligible
to join if they comply with certain monetary requirements,
and eventual use of the euro is mandatory for all
new EU members.
is managed and administered by the Frankfurt-based European
Central Bank (ECB) and the European System of
Central Banks (ESCB) (composed of the central banks
of its member states). As an independent central bank,
the ECB has sole authority to set monetary policy.
The ESCB participates in the printing, minting and
distribution of notes and coins in all member states,
and the operation of the Eurozone payment systems.
states and dates of entry into the European Union
Union's 28 member states cover an area of 4,324,782 square kilometers (1,669,808 square miles) and have approximately
510 million inhabitants as of December 2016 The European
Union's member states if combined would represent
the world's largest economy by GDP, the seventh largest
territory in the world by area and the third largest
by population. The EU describes itself as a "a
family of democratic European countries".