Ten years ago, the world's youngest and most ambitious currency - the euro - became materialized. Twelve countries of the European Union launched the new monetary unit in circulation. The new currency was born in one of the largest cities of Germany - Frankfurt-am-Main - where the European Central Bank is headquartered.
Citizens of Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, France and Greece were introduced to new banknotes and coins. The French and the Germans were especially ecstatic in welcoming the new currency. They refused from their national currencies in a blink of an eye.
Several other countries of the Eurozone did not share the euphoria of their neighbors. They preferred not to cheat on their national currencies. The wealthy Switzerland, the monarchic Denmark and the proud Britain turned their backs on the euro. Hungary, the Czech Republic and Sweden did not hurry to exchange their monetary units for the newcomer. Some other countries - for example, Latvia and Lithuania - have been doing their best to try to get hold of the joint European currency. However, they can not afford the euro because of the crisis in 2008, which led to lamentable consequences for their economies.
The history of the euro began in 1999, when the currency was put into non-cash payments in the countries of the European Union. The European Currency Unit, or ECU, became the prototype of the euro. The currency was introduced in 1979 as a result of the idea of the EU states to create the so-called "currency snake." The main goal of the idea was the need to fix the exchange rates of EU members. However, the new currency was rather fastidious - it was not meant for everyone.
Stability is the most important criterion. Like a capricious bride, the euro will never tie the knot with a country where the inflation rate exceeds the indicators of EU's three most stable countries by more than 1.5%. The euro says no to the countries where the public debt makes up more than 60% of the GDP and where he deficit of the state budget exceeds 3% of the GDP.
The father of the design of the joint European currency was Robert Kalina of Austria. The man won the contest for the best design of cash euro. The contest was conducted in 1997-1998. Kalina depicted Europe's landmark monuments on the new notes. On the front side, one can see windows and doors that symbolize the spirit of openness and cooperation inside the European community. The bridges on the reverse side of euro notes act as a symbol of communication between the European people. In addition, one can see a small map of Europe on the notes. The euro notes of various value differ in size - that was done in the interests of visually impaired individuals.
The euro is considered to be one of the most protected currencies in the world. The notes are printed on cotton fiber, whereas the numbers on the notes are regulated by certain mathematic rules.
It is worthy of note that unlike the euro notes, which have the European origin, the coins of the young currency have their roots in the East. The metal for euro coins is supplied by China. The Celestial Empire obtained the right for the supplies of raw material for the new coins as a result of the tender conducted in 1998.
During the recent ten years, the euro became the only legal currency in five other countries of the European Union. Slovenia declined its national currency in 2007. In 2008, the euro was introduced in Cyprus and Malta. Estonia obtained the right for the euro in 2011. Thus, the euro currently reigns in 17 countries of the European Union. It is also in circulation in the dwarfish countries of Europe, which formally do not stand as EU members. It goes about the Vatican, San Marino, Andorra and Monaco, as well as Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Havana and Reunion. In addition, the euro is freely accepted on the Portuguese island of Madeira and on the Azores, in Montenegro and in restive Kosovo.
The symbol of the euro is the Greek letter "ypsilon", which does not seem to be appropriate much in light of the economic tribulations in Greece. However, the two lines that cross the symbol mean the stability of the currency.
British experts say that the year 2012 may become the starting point for the collapse of the Eurozone. The collapse may trigger the decline and the death of the ambitious European currency. The EU does its best to preserve the stability of the currency. However, the European Central Bank has already said that it was impossible to contain the devaluation of the euro.