Euro Turns 25 Years Old

The single currency adopted by 20 European Union countries, the euro, turns 25 years old. Although it was just a virtual currency used for electronic payments and accounting purposes, it was actually launched on January 1, 1999 and then went into circulation three years later, on January 1, 2002.

However, January 1, 1999 is the date chosen as the symbol of the EU that, on the occasion of the anniversary, published an open letter signed by Charles Michel (President of the European Council), Pascal Donohoe (President of the Eurogroup), Christine Lagarde (President of the European Central Bank), Roberta Metsola (President of the European Parliament), and Ursula von der Leyen (President of the European Commission).

“25 years ago, on January 1, 1999, the euro came into force as the single currency of 11 EU member states. Today it is at the service of the economy and makes life easier for 350 million people in 20 countries,” the letter says. “Europe’s cause has always been based on solving problems that countries could not cope with alone. After World War II, some visionary leaders realized that the only way to ensure peace on our continent was to unite our economies. And a united Europe would eventually need a single currency to make the most of the economic benefits created by this peace dividend.”

“Today, the euro is an indispensable element of our daily lives, giving us simplicity, stability, and sovereignty. This has made life simpler for European citizens, who can easily compare prices, trade, and travel. It gave us stability by protecting economic growth and jobs during a series of crises. And issuing the world’s second most important currency gave us greater sovereignty in a turbulent world. It is therefore not surprising that the euro area has grown from 11 to 20 countries since its founding.”

The letter also mentions the encountered difficulties and challenges that called into question the very existence of the single European currency, as well as geopolitical, economic, and climate challenges that can be answered through even closer cooperation.

“We found the right answers every time. For example, in response to the global financial and sovereign debt crises, we created safeguards, such as the Harmonized System of Banking Supervision and Resolution or the European Stability Mechanism. Today, support for the single currency among eurozone citizens is close to record levels.”