The euro in numbers

01

THE EURO HELPS KEEP PRICES STABLE

The euro encourages trade, competition and price transparency. This helps to keep prices stable. Since the introduction of the euro, the monthly inflation rate has averaged only 1.7%, which is lower than in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Inflation convergence: euro area (annual % increase)

02

THE EURO IS THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT CURRENCY IN THE WORLD

The proportion of international payments made in euros and US dollars is roughly equal and the euro is the world’s second favourite currency for borrowing, lending and central bank reserves.

The share of euro in global payments - 2017

03

MOST EUROPEANS SUPPORT THE EURO AND THE POPULARITY OF THE SINGLE CURRENCY IS STRONG AND GROWING

Currently 74% of Europeans are in favour of a European Economic and Monetary Union, with one single currency, the euro. This is the highest share ever.

Support for the euro among EU citizens

04

THE EURO HAS HELPED MAKE IT CHEAPER FOR EUROPEAN HOME BUYERS, BUSINESSES AND GOVERNMENTS TO BORROW MONEY

Because the European Central Bank ensures the stability of the euro and prices, it has become easier and cheaper for Europeans to borrow money at this point in time. Lower borrowing costs make it cheaper for Europeans to get mortgages and for European businesses to finance investment.

Average interest rate on housing loans Euro Area

05

THE EURO HELPS PROMOTE TRADE WITHIN EUROPE AND BEYOND

The stability of the euro makes it attractive for businesses around the world trading with Europe to accept prices quoted in euros. This saves European businesses from the costs of currency movements and the cost of converting euros into other currencies. It also makes it much easier and cheaper for countries using the euro to trade with each other!

Extra-EU exports by currency (euro area) 2016

06

LIVING STANDARDS AND EMPLOYMENT HAVE RISEN SIGNIFICANTLY UNDER THE EURO

Since the euro was introduced in 1999, the average income in the euro area (EA19) has risen from € 20,900 to €33,900 (2018). Over the same time, the percentage of people in employment has risen from 63.6% to 71.0 %.

Nominal GDP per capita in euro area (in thousands EUR)

Employment rate in euro area (population aged 20-62)

07

THE EURO HAS PROTECTED EURO AREA ECONOMIES FROM EXCHANGE RATE VOLATILITY

The euro has eliminated the costs of currency movements within the euro area and protected European consumers and businesses from costly swings in currency markets which, in some countries used to undermine confidence, discourage investment and cause economic instability.

DID YOU KNOW?

01

The name ‘euro’ was agreed at the 1995 European Council meeting in Madrid as part of the preparations for the single currency.
The euro symbol – € – was inspired by the Greek letter epsilon (Є), a reference to the cradle of European civilisation. It also stands for the first letter of the word ‘Europe’ in the Latin alphabet, while the two parallel lines running through the symbol signify stability.

02

DESIGN

Banknotes*

The design of the euro banknotes is based on the different architectural styles that have emerged throughout Europe’s history and have marked its culture. On the front of the banknotes, windows and doorways symbolise the European spirit of openness and cooperation. On the back, bridges symbolise communication between the people of Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world.

The styles shown are:

Coins*

The euro coins have a common side and a national side. The national sides indicate the issuing country, whereas the common sides show images of the European Union or of Europe and symbolise the unity of the EU. The 5, 2 and 1 cent coins show Europe in relation to Africa and Asia on a globe.

The common sides of the euro coins are:

03
340MILLION EUROPEANS

The euro is shared by 340 million Europeans. 60 countries and territories, representing 175 million people, have pegged their own currencies to the euro either directly or indirectly.

21BILLION BANKNOTES

In 2018, there were over 21 billion euro banknotes in circulation with a value of about EUR 1.1 trillion.

130BILLION COINS

There are almost 130 billion coins in circulation, with a total value of over EUR 28 billion.

€50NOTE MOST USED

The 50 euro note is the most widely used in the euro area, with more than 10 billion banknotes in circulation.

79%CASH PAYMENTS

In 2016 in the euro area around 79% of all payments were made with cash, 19% with cards and 2% with other payment instruments. Cash was most used in the southern euro area countries, as well as in Germany, Austria and Slovenia, where 80% or more transactions were conducted with cash.

Cash was least used in the Netherlands, Estonia and Finland, where its share in the number of transactions ranged between 45% and 54%.

04

In addition to the euro area, the euro is also the currency of some non-EU countries:

Andorra
Kosovo *

This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo* declaration of independence.

Montenegro
Monaco
San Marino
Vatican City

The euro is also used in territories outside the European continent:

Azores and Madeira (Portugal)
Canary Islands (Spain)
Ceuta and Melilla (Spain)
French Guyana
French islands in the Caribbean
Mayotte and Réunion (France)
Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France)

The euro: an evolving project

Now 20 years old, the euro is the second most important and trusted currency in the world. Popular support for the euro is growing. A number of EU countries hope to participate in Europe’s single currency in the future and will be welcomed when they are ready. The euro’s future, like our own, is still being written. In a fast changing international environment, Europe can only keep its economic strength and social safety net with a strong single market and a strong currency.