The Euro is the single European currency that replaced national monetary systems for 19 member states of the European Union. In forex markets, the Euro is abbreviated to EUR, and is the second-most traded currency after the US Dollar.
It came into being on January 1 1993, at which point only 11 EU members used the currency –France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. However, as the EU has expanded, so has the adoption of the currency. Now, 19 of the 27 member states are part of the eurozone.
The European Central Bank (ECB) controls the euro by setting monetary policy for the countries that have adopted the Euro. Each member of the eurozone forgoes the right to set monetary policies that are specific to their economy, and instead is part of this blanket approach to European economics.
The eurozone removes exchange rate risk for individuals and businesses operating within these markets. However, many critics argue it has given the European body too much power in the global economy.
Besides managing the Euro, the ECB formulates and implements EU economic and monetary policy with the aim of keeping inflation in check, supporting economic growth and creating employment opportunities.