Currencies of the European Union
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There are thirteen currencies of the European Union as of 2009, the principal currency being the euro. The euro is used by the institutions of the European Union and by the eurozone states, which account for 16 of the 27 member states of the European Union. All but three states are obliged to adopt the currency; the remaining three have, through legal exemption or de facto permission, retained the right to operate independent currencies within the European Union.
The euro is the result of the European Union's project for economic and monetary union which came fully into being on 1 January 2002. and it is now the currency used by the majority of European Union's member states, with all but three bound to adopt it. It is the currency used by the institutions of the European Union and in the failed European Constitution it was to be included with the symbols of Europe as the formal currency of the European Union. The euro is also widely used by other states outside the EU.
|Euro||€||n/a||Used by the institutions|
|Bulgarian lev||Bulgaria||лв||Currency board||2012 target for euro|
|Czech koruna||Czech Republic||Kč||Floating||2015 target for euro|
|Danish krone||Denmark||kr||ERM||Formal opt-out but referendum planned|
|Estonian kroon||Estonia||kr||ERM||2011 target for euro|
|Hungarian forint||Hungary||Ft||Floating||2014 target for euro|
|Latvian lats||Latvia||Ls||ERM||2013 target for euro|
|Lithuanian litas||Lithuania||Lt||ERM||2013 target for euro|
|Polish złoty||Poland||zł||Floating||2013 target for euro|
| United Kingdom|
|Romanian leu||Romania||Leu||Floating||2014 target for euro|
|Swedish krona||Sweden||kr||Floating||De facto opt-out|
|Turkish lira||Cyprus||TL / £||Floating||Used in Northern Cyprus|
The United Kingdom was given an opt-out from the euro in the Maastricht Treaty when it became the only state not to compromise to back a less ambitious currency project. Denmark gained its opt-out after the Danish electorate rejected the treaty in a 1992 referendum and Denmark was given four opt-outs in order to pass the treaty.
Sweden then held a referendum in 2003 even though it was obliged to adopt the currency and it was rejected by the Swedish electorate. The European Commission stated it would respect this decision for now but not tolerate similar moves from countries that join the EU after the euro is introduced. Hence, the British, Danish and Swedish currencies are not obliged to be retired, however Denmark is considering dropping its opt-out (see future below).
Those European Union states that have adopted it are known as the eurozone and share the European Central Bank (ECB). The ECB and the national central banks of all EU countries, including those who operate an independent currency, are part of the European System of Central Banks. Before a state adopts the euro, its currency has to spend at least two years in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism which pegs it to the euro within a fixed band. Currently four currencies are in ERM, including the Danish Krone which has an opt-out. The Bulgaria lev is also pegged via a currency board.
|Austrian schilling||Austria||S or öS||2002|
|Dutch guilder||Netherlands||ƒ or fl.||2002|
|French franc||France||F or FF||2002|
|Luxembourgian franc||Luxembourg||fr. or F||2002|
|Greek drachma||Greece||Δρχ., Δρ. or ₯||2002|
|Maltese lira||Malta||₤ and Lm||2008|
With the future enlargement of the European Union, each new state will bring another currency. All current members (except for the UK, Denmark and Sweden) and all future members are obliged to eventually adopt the euro as their currency, yielding their present currencies. Denmark, which has an opt out, is expected to hold a referendum on its opt-outs once the Lisbon Treaty is in force, at 2010. With the reunification of Cyprus, the Turkish lira will cease to be in use on EU territory.
- ^ The government in Northern Cyprus isn't recognised by the Republic of Cyprus (which claims jurisdiction over the whole island) and the European Union. Although usage of the euro is high, it will only formally be replaced once the island is reunified.