The euro is the second most-used currency for global financial transactions, with arround 39% of the volume, excluding intra-euro area payments, denominated in euros. The euro is also an attractive reserve currency for other countries. In 2017, around 20 % of worldwide reserves were held in euros.
Euro area interest rates influence economic developments and price stability. All the daily currency movements and exchanges require some management: this is the job of the independent European Central Bank, located in Frankfurt. The ECB is the central bank of the 19 European Union countries which have adopted the euro: it works to maintain price stability, and to preserve the purchasing power of the single currency.
Although taxes are levied by EU countries and each country decides upon its own budget, national governments have devised common rules on public finances to be able to coordinate their activities for stability, growth and employment.
Since 2002, euro banknotes have been produced jointly by the national central banks (NCBs) of the euro area. Each NCB is responsible for a proportion of the total annual production in one or more denominations.
Responsibility for minting euro coins lies with the national governments of the euro area countries.
Security was a major consideration while designing euro coins and banknotes. Since the single currency entered into force, the levels of counterfeiting in the euro area have been relatively low. However, because each country’s euro notes and coins — with distinctive designs — are legal tender across the entire euro area, common rules and coordination are needed to ensure that anti-counterfeiting measures are equally effective in all countries. EU anti-counterfeiting policy is based on four pillars: prevention, repression, training and cooperation.