The Euro, currency of the European Union, was up to now used only between banks, stock exchanges, etc. For most people in the EU it was more or less a virtual currency that spoiled their US holidays because of ever dropping exchange rates.
All this is going to change on January 1st 2002. Twelve countries of the EU give up their national currencies and change to Euro. Participating are Belgium, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland and Germany.
To let people get used to the new coins, the national banks are passing out "starter kits" with a mixture of coins. I just got one today. I must say that I like the new look very much. I also like the idea of one currency in a united Europe.
In my opinion, we are just watching the next step in a historical line. Not long ago there were thousends of major and minor kingdoms in Europe as well as independent city states, all with their own currency. With the rise of national states there came national currencies. Now these states form the European Union. And this won't be the last step towards larger political unions.
In Germany it's at least the sixth currency reform within hundred years for the generation of my grandparents. The major difference now is that the money and private fortunes don't loose their value like before.
Many people are at least sceptical, though. Especially here in Germany we're giving up a respected and thrustworthy currency. In Greece they exchange one of the oldest currencies, the Drachme, that built one of the highest cultures and the foundation of modern Europe for the Euro. So there are lot's of emotions, too.
One reason because people don't trust the Euro are the inital losses against the dollar. In my opinion they are our own fault. If I was a foreign businessman, I wouldn't trust a currency that is not even accepted in its own countries. I think that this and all the other fears will be overcome in the next few months when people start to realise the advantages and the value of the Euro.
Since there are many Europeans on this boards from participating countries and as well from the ones that are members of the EU but choosed not to change to the Euro, what do you think about all this Euro stuff? And of course, what do people from other parts of the world think about this process of unifying Europe and what goes with it?
Just my two Euro cents
If you like more information or to take a look at the new money this is the site of the European Central Bank