Every year on January 1st, Euro Day celebrates the issuance of the monetary unit of the European Union. This monetary unit is called the euro.
The United Nations recognizes 180 currencies used by the Member States throughout the world. We typically refer to currency as money. Currency includes paper, metal coins, banknotes, and cotton. The dollar, peso, franc, yen, and yuan, are all examples of different kinds of currencies.
The world’s oldest currency is the British pound. This type of currency has been around for 1,200 years. The euro is one of the newer types of currency. The euro was born in 1999. However, the notes and coins didn’t begin to circulate until 2002. Currently, 334 million Europeans use the euro on a daily basis. Up until then, countries in Europe used the Dutch guilder.
HOW TO OBSERVE #EuroDay
Many Europeans are thankful they have their own currency. One of the ways they celebrate this day is by spending their euros. Chances are you won’t be spending any euros on this day but there are other ways to participate:
- Learn about the history of currency and the important role it has played through the years
- Educate yourself on the different kinds of currency and in what countries it is used
- Read about the process currency goes through before its issued and circulated
Share what you learn by using #EuroDay on social media.
EURO DAY HISTORY
The League of Nations first discussed the idea of a European currency in 1929. Due to WWI, they tabled the plan. Then in the late 1960s, the European Union and its predecessors began once again discussing a type of currency that every European country could use.
In 1979, the European Monetary System was created. The European Monetary System fixed the exchange rate into the European Currency Unit (ECU). In 1988, France, Italy, and the European Commission supported a fully monetary union with a central bank. However, British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, opposed the proposal. Despite the lack of UK support, in 1992, the creation of a single currency for European countries move forward without UK participation. Finally, at midnight on January 1, 1999, the euro was introduced in a non-physical form. New notes and coins were introduced on January 1, 2002. Since then, European countries have celebrated Euro Day, annually.