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The euro

The euro brings us together

Euro banknotes and coins are a tangible, everyday reminder of the greater freedom, convenience and opportunities that the European Union brings us.

On 1 January 1999, 11 EU countries launched the euro as their new common currency. The euro was initially an electronic currency, with euro banknotes and coins being introduced three years later.

Today, the euro is the currency of 20 EU countries and about 350 million people. It is one of the most important currencies in the world and here at the European Central Bank we work to safeguard its value.

The value of unity – 25 years of the euro

Over the past 25 years, the euro has brought many benefits to Europe. It is trusted by the millions of people who use it on a daily basis, having become a beacon of stability around the world and a symbol of European unity.

Learn more about what the euro has helped us achieve

Our euro banknotes

Our euro banknotes symbolise the integration, openness and cooperation between the people of Europe. The design elements and security features make our banknotes unique.

Explore euro banknotes in 3D

How does the euro benefit Europeans?

The euro makes our lives simpler by enabling citizens to live, work and study abroad more easily. At the ECB, we safeguard the euro so that you can make the most of all that Europe has to offer.

Watch how the euro improves your life

How does the euro help Europeans do business?

Small and medium-sized enterprises form the backbone of the euro area economy. Using a common currency allows businesses to grow as it reduces costs and risks, and encourages investment.

Watch how small businesses benefit from the euro

Did you know?

The two parallel lines running through the € symbol signify stability.

Future banknotes

We are developing future banknotes to make them more secure, sustainable and relatable to Europeans of all ages and backgrounds. Find out about the different steps in the process and how you can get involved.

Learn more about our plans for future banknotes

The Eurosystem cash strategy

To ensure that you remain free to choose cash as a way to pay both now and in the future, the ECB and the central banks of the euro area are pursuing five strategic objectives. Our strategy ensures that cash remains accessible to all and continues to be accepted as a competitive and reliable means of payment and a store of value.

Our strategic objectives for cash
Are you a professional cash handler from a commercial bank, post office or other organisation?

Discover more about banknotes-related topics

Data on banknote circulation

We carefully study the circulation of and demand for euro banknotes, so that you will always have access to euro banknotes.

Statistics on banknote and coin circulation

The international role of the euro

The euro is one of the most important currencies in the world. We keep an eye on and report on the use of the euro outside the euro area.

Read our most recent report
Not an expert? Check out our explainer
Learn more
How does a country join the euro area?

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