Before 1992, if you wanted to shop in fifteen European countries, you would need
four or five different currencies. In 1992, fifteen countries banned together to form one
unified currency: the euro. The euro was soon to be competition for the American dollar
as a world currency.
To become one of the countries that use the euro, the countries had to meet certain
criteria. The criteria consisted of requiring stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the
rule of law, human rights, and the protection on minorities. This caused the countries to
start using the euro, one by one. Austria, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain,
Portugal, France, Ireland, and Netherlands were the first countries that began using the
euro in 1999. It took from 1992 until 1999 to fully integrate the euro in these countries
that would later become known as “The Euro zone.”
The remaining five countries did not integrate the euro as their currency until
later. Greece came in 2001, Slovenia integrated in 2007, Cyprus and Malta joined in
2008, and Slavia will be fully included in 2009. In the years following, Lithuania will
join in 2010, Estonia in 2011, and 2012 or later, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Czech
Republic, Poland, and Romania will all make the euro their official currency.
Although many countries have joined the movement towards the euro with no
concerns, many have not. Germany, the world’s third largest economy, has concerns. In
the 1920’s, Germany’s economy suffered hyperinflation and devaluation which
devastated the citizen’s savings. Since then Germans have been scared that the German
mark would become weak like the Italian lira, and the Spanish peseta. In recent months,
polls show that many Germans are favoring the euro because of its low inflation and high
While the euro is being integrated in many countries, citizens are having to...