Euro celebrates 10 years

And as Europe celebrates the 10th anniversary of the launch of euro banknotes and coins, there must be a great many of the more than 300 million of its citizens who share the single currency who feel like doing just that, reports. Now, with the long-running debt crisis threatening to plunge even the wealthiest eurozone states into a deep recession or even a depression, there are a great many who, secretly or openly, clamour for a return of the deutschmark, the franc or the lira. As a currency, the euro is actually 13 years old not 10: it became the official unit of transaction on the financial markets for 11 countries in 1999. But it was not until January 1, 2002 that the virtual currency became a physical reality for Europeans, with the launch of euro banknotes and coins in 12 countries.

In retrospect, the euphoria that greeted the birth of the world’s number-two currency 10 years ago may – to many -sound a little hollow. Policymakers, bankers and financiers insist a common currency brings only advantages. It “increases price transparency, eliminates currency exchange costs, oils the wheels of the European economy, facilitates international trade and gives the EU a more powerful voice in the world,” proclaims the European Commission on its website.

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