The Euro (sign: €; code: EUR) is the official currency of countries member of the European Union that have adopted the euro as their single currency. Today, this currency area is composed of 17 countries: Germany (1999), Austria (1999), Belgium (1999), Cyprus (2008), Spain (1999), Estonia (2011), Finland (1999), France (1999), Greece (2001), Ireland (1999), Italy (1999), Luxembourg (1999), Malta (2008), Netherlands (1999), Portugal (1999), Slovakia (2009) and Slovenia (2007 ).
This currency area was created in 1999 and the euro as a payment method (notes and coins) has been put into circulation on January 1st 2002.
The euro is now the second currency in terms of transaction volumes, still far behind the U.S. dollar. However, in terms of quantity of money in circulation, the euro is the first currency in the world with a total of 610 billion euros.