The EU celebrates the 10th anniversary of the introduction of euro notes and coins

The 1 January 2012 will mark 10 years of the introduction of euro notes and coins in the European Union. Among the benefits reached so far thanks to the euro and Economic and Monetary Union, 332 million people no longer have to pay extra costs to exchange currencies and there is more transparency in cross-border transactions, enabling consumers to compare prices between one eurozone country and another.

The European Union celebrates 10 years of the introduction of euro notes and coins. According to the Commission, the success of the euro has proven to dependent on sound and sustainable public finances and robust macroeconomic policies. Commission also highlights that the euro is not just a technical monetary arrangement, but a symbol for the determination to work together in a spirit of solidarity.

With regard to the current crisis situation, the Commission stressed that whilst the euro and Economic and Monetary Union provided a sound basis for economic progress, the banking crisis of 2008 and its consequences have tested the system to the full. The basis for recovery already exists with the recently strengthened EU rules on economic governance and surveillance. It is being further reinforced through a 'Fiscal Compact' agreed by EU leaders last 8 December in the pursuit of budgetary discipline and reinforced economic policy coordination and governance throughout the eurozone. Commission also considers that without the Economic and Monetary Union, the global financial crisis would have unleashed a series of devastating currency crises in Europe.

All potential member countries are required to adhere to strict economic and monetary criteria in order to maintain budgetary discipline before joining the euro. Nevertheless, inside the euro area, fiscal and macroeconomic imbalances built up over the decade. The euro drew Member States towards closer cooperation for the common aim of a stable currency and economy. Before the banking crisis struck in 2008, the European Union was on track to achieving these goals.