1st of January - Eurozone joined Latvia!

Euro Banknotes and Coins

The name „euro" was chosen in 1995 as it symbolised „Europe".

Inspiration for the € symbol itself came from the Greek epsilon (Є) - a reference to the cradle of European civilisation - and the first letter of the word Europe, crossed by two parallel lines to 'certify' the stability of the euro.

The European Commission organised an internal competition to come up with the euro symbol. Some 30 drafts were considered - ten of which were tested on the public - and the final design was selected from two short-listed proposals by the then President of the Commission, Jacques Santer, and Commissioner Yves Thibault de Silguy in 1995.

Years of planning and preparation went into the euro's design to find a good balance of aesthetic appeal, practical dimensions and security features - resulting in the seven banknotes and eight coins designed for the launch in January 2002.

The euro banknotes share the same designs across all countries in the euro area. Unlike banknotes, the coins have one common side and one country-specific side.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has the exclusive right to authorise the issue of euro banknotes by the national central banks of the euro area. The responsibility for producing them and putting them into circulation is shared among national central banks. Coins are issued by euro area Member States in volumes approved each year by the ECB and production is entrusted to the national mints.