Ten Years of Economic and Monetary Union
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Ten Years of Economic and Monetary Union €2 commemorative coin was issued together by 16 EU countries. In 2009 it was ten years since the euro was introduced in 11 different coutries.
The theme on the obverse side of the coin was selected in an internet election held in all EU countries early 2008. George Stamatopoulos’s winning suggestion received 41.48 per cent of all votes.
The idea of an economic and monetary union and a common currency has been under consideration since the beginnings of European integration. The current Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) has had three central stages of development.
The first began in 1990 when the EU member states committed to establishing a functional economic and monetary union and accepted a set of practical measures to serve as its foundation. The economic policy was coordinated particularly to promote price stability and a healthy public economy and obstacles to the integration of the financial market were removed.
Once the Maastricht treaty entered into force in 1993, the second stage began with the establishment of the European Monetary Institute in 1994. It was the predecessor of the European Central Bank, which began to exercise its powers in 1998.
In 1997, the EU leaders signed the Stability and Growth Pact, which fixed certain rates to ensure the budgetary discipline required by the final stage of the EMU. The final stage was to be the establishment of the Eurozone and the adoption of the euro.
The third stage of the EMU began on 1 January 1999: the common currency, the euro, was adopted by 11 member states. However, the euro only existed as a virtual currency used in bank account movements.
National notes and coins were circulated as the euro sub-currencies until the end of 2001. The euro system, which includes the ECB and the national central banks of the Eurozone member states, began to manage the monetary policy.
The euro notes and coins were introduced in 12 member states on January 1, 2002. The largest cash exchange of history delivered €144 billion to the Eurozone economy. The common use of the euro and national notes and coins ended on 28 February 2002, after a period of two months.
During this time, more than 6 billion national notes and nearly 30 billion national coins were withdrawn. Today, the euro is one of the most important worldwide currencies alongside the U.S. dollar.
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