|Union type||Economic & Monetary|
|Established||1 January 1999|
|Group president||Jeroen Dijsselbloem|
|Issuing authority||European Central Bank|
|ECB president||Mario Draghi|
|Affiliated with||European Union|
|GDP (2012)||€9.5 trillion|
|Trade balance||€82 bn surplus|
The Eurozone ( pronunciation (help·info)), officially called the euro area, is an economic and monetary union (EMU) of 18 European Union (EU) member states that have adopted the euro (€) as their common currency and sole legal tender.
The Eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. Other EU states (except for the United Kingdom and Denmark) are obliged to join once they meet the criteria to do so. No state has left and there are no provisions to do so or to be expelled. Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican City and Andorra have formal agreements with the EU to use the euro as their official currency and issue their own coins. Other states, like Kosovo and Montenegro, have adopted the euro unilaterally, but these countries do not formally form part of the Eurozone and do not have representation in the ECB or the Eurogroup.
Monetary policy of the zone is the responsibility of the European Central Bank (ECB) which is governed by a president and a board of the heads of national central banks. The principal task of the ECB is to keep inflation under control. Though there is no common representation, governance or fiscal policy for the currency union, some co-operation does take place through the Eurogroup, which makes political decisions regarding the Eurozone and the euro. The Eurogroup is composed of the finance ministers of Eurozone states, but in emergencies, national leaders also form the Eurogroup.
Since the financial crisis of 2007–08, the Eurozone has established and used provisions for granting emergency loans to member states in return for the enactment of economic reforms. The Eurozone has also enacted some limited fiscal integration, for example in peer review of each other's national budgets. The issue is political and in a state of flux in terms of what further provisions will be agreed for Eurozone reform.
- 1 Member states
- 2 Administration and representation
- 3 Economy
- 4 Bailout provisions
- 5 Peer review
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
In 1998 eleven member states of the European Union had met the euro convergence criteria, and the Eurozone came into existence with the official launch of the euro (alongside national currencies) on 1 January 1999. Greece qualified in 2000 and was admitted on 1 January 2001 before physical notes and coins were introduced on 1 January 2002 replacing all national currencies. Between 2007 and 2014, six new states acceded.
nominal (million USD, 2012)
of total (nominal)
|GNI per capita
nominal (USD, 2012)
|France||1999-01-01||65,697||2,749,098||21.64%||41,850||Franc|| New Caledonia[b]
Wallis and Futuna[b]
The 2012 data above of Eurozone states were published by World Bank in May 2014. Latvia was not in the Eurozone in 2012.
Ten countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) are EU members but do not use the euro, though Lithuania is due to adopt the euro from 1 January 2015. Before joining the Eurozone, a state must spend two years in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II). As of 2014, the National Central Banks (NCBs) of Lithuania and Denmark participate in ERM II.
Denmark and the United Kingdom obtained special opt-outs in the original Maastricht Treaty. Both countries are legally exempt from joining the Eurozone unless their governments decide otherwise, either by parliamentary vote or referendum. Sweden, which joined the EU in 1995 after the Maastricht Treaty was signed, is required to join the Eurozone under the terms of its accession treaty as soon as it fulfils the convergence criteria, which include being part of ERM II for two years. However, the Swedish people turned down euro adoption in a 2003 referendum and since then the country has intentionally avoided fulfilling the adoption requirements by not joining ERM II, which is voluntary.
The 2008 financial crisis increased interest in Denmark and initially in Poland to join the Eurozone, and in Iceland to join the European Union, a pre-condition for adopting the euro. However, by 2010 the debt crisis in the Eurozone caused interest from Poland and the Czech Republic to cool. Lithuania plans to adopt the euro in 2015.
The euro is also used in countries outside the EU. Three states – Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City — have signed formal agreements with the EU to use the euro and issue their own coins. Nevertheless, they are not considered part of the Eurozone by the ECB and do not have a seat in the ECB or Euro Group. Andorra's monetary agreement with the EU to use the euro came into force in April 2012 and would have permitted it to issue its own euro coins as early as 1 July 2013, provided that Andorra implemented relevant EU legislation. They were expected to issue their first coins on 1 January 2014. However, EU approval to begin minting the coins was delayed until December 2013, so the first Andorran coins were delayed, with Minister of Culture Stephen Albert stating that he was optimistic they would be released by March or April 2014.
Kosovo[g] and Montenegro officially adopted the euro as their sole currency without an agreement and, therefore, have no issuing rights. These states are not considered part of the Eurozone by the ECB. However, sometimes the term Eurozone is applied to all territories that have adopted the euro as their sole currency. Further unilateral adoption of the euro (euroisation), by both non-euro EU and non-EU members, is opposed by the ECB and EU.
Expulsion and secession
Although the Eurozone is open to all EU member states to join once they meet the criteria, the treaty is silent on the matter of states leaving the Eurozone, neither prohibiting nor permitting it. Likewise there is no provision for a state to be expelled from the euro. Some, however, including the Dutch government, favour such a provision being created in the event that a heavily indebted state in the Eurozone refuses to comply with an EU economic reform policy. Jens Dammann has argued that even now EU law contains an implicit right for member states to leave the Eurozone if they no longer meet the criteria that they had to meet in order to join the Eurozone.
The benefits of leaving the euro would vary depending on the situation. If the country's own replacement currency was expected to devalue against the euro, the state might experience a large-scale exodus of money, whereas if the currency were expected to appreciate then more money would flow into the economy. A rapidly appreciating currency would be detrimental to the country's exports.
One problem is that leaving the euro cannot be achieved very quickly, banknotes must be printed for example. So during preparations, a lot of currency might leave the country, and people might be expected to withdraw euros in cash, causing a bank run. This would depend on the relative interest rates and depreciation rates.
Administration and representation
The monetary policy of all countries in the Eurozone is managed by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Eurosystem which comprises the ECB and the central banks of the EU states who have joined the Eurozone. Countries outside the Eurozone are not represented in these institutions. Whereas all EU member states are part of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). Non EU member states have no say in all three institutions, even those with monetary agreements such as Monaco. The ECB is entitled to authorise the design and printing of euro banknotes and the volume of euro coins minted, and its president is currently Mario Draghi.
The Eurozone is represented politically by its finance ministers, known collectively as the Eurogroup, and is presided over by a president, currently Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The finance ministers of the EU member states that use the euro meet a day before a meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) of the Council of the European Union. The Group is not an official Council formation but when the full EcoFin council votes on matters only affecting the Eurozone, only Euro Group members are permitted to vote on it.
Since the global financial crisis of 2007–08, the Euro Group has met irregularly not as finance ministers, but as heads of state and government (like the European Council). It is in this forum, the Euro summit, that many Eurozone reforms have been decided upon. In 2011, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy pushed for these summits to become regular and twice a year in order for it to be a 'true economic government'.
In April 2008 in Brussels, Juncker suggested that the Eurozone should be represented at the International Monetary Fund as a bloc, rather than each member state separately: "It is absurd for those 15 countries not to agree to have a single representation at the IMF. It makes us look absolutely ridiculous. We are regarded as buffoons on the international scene." However Finance Commissioner Joaquín Almunia stated that before there is common representation, a common political agenda should be agreed upon.
|Population||GDPa||% world GDP by PPP||Exports||Imports|
|Eurozone||335 million||$11 trillion||14%||27% GDP||25% GDP|
|EU (27)||506 million||$17 trillion||21%||18% GDP||17% GDP|
|United States||314 million||$16 trillion||20%||14% GDP||17% GDP|
|China||1 354 million||$14 trillion||18%||26% GDP||24% GDP|
|Japan||128 million||$5 trillion||6%||15% GDP||17% GDP|
|India||1200 million||$1.877 trillion||6.4%||24% GDP||31% GDP|
Nominal GDP (billions in USD) - 2014
|(01) United States||
|(05) United Kingdom||
|(11) South Korea||
|(14) Saudi Arabia||
The 20 largest economies in the world counting the EU as a single entity and the Eurozone as a single entity, by nominal GDP (2014)
Interest rates for the Eurozone, set by the ECB since 1999. Levels are in percentages per annum. Between to June 2000 and October 2008, the main refinancing operations were variable rate tenders, as opposed to fixed rate tenders. The figures indicated in the table from 2000 to 2008 refer to the minimum interest rate at which counterparties may place their bids.
|Date||Deposit facility||Main refinancing operations||Marginal lending facility|
|Country||CIA 2007||OECD 2009||IMF 2009||CIA 2009||EuroStat 2010||EuroStat 2011|
The primary means for fiscal coordination within the EU lies in the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines which are written for every member state, but with particular reference to the 17 current members of the Eurozone. These guidelines are not binding, but are intended to represent policy coordination among the EU member states, so as to take into account the linked structures of their economies.
For their mutual assurance and stability of the currency, members of the Eurozone have to respect the Stability and Growth Pact, which sets agreed limits on deficits and national debt, with associated sanctions for deviation. The Pact originally set a limit of 3% of GDP for the yearly deficit of all Eurozone member states; with fines for any state which exceeded this amount. In 2005, Portugal, Germany, and France had all exceeded this amount, but the Council of Ministers had not voted to fine those states. Subsequently, reforms were adopted to provide more flexibility and ensure that the deficit criteria took into account the economic conditions of the member states, and additional factors.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development downgraded its economic forecasts on 20 March 2008 for the Eurozone for the first half of 2008. Europe does not have room to ease fiscal or monetary policy, the 30-nation group warned. For the Eurozone, the OECD now forecasts first-quarter GDP growth of just 0.5%, with no improvement in the second quarter, which is expected to show just a 0.4% gain.
The European Fiscal Compact is a proposal for a treaty about fiscal integration described in a decision adopted on 9 December 2011 by the European Council. The participants are the Eurozone member states and all other EU members except for the United Kingdom. Treaty text is still to be drafted and participation approvals from national parliaments are still to be granted.
Historical eurozone enlargements and exchange-rate regimes for EU members
The chart below provides a full summary of all applying exchange-rate regimes for EU members, since the European Monetary System with its Exchange Rate Mechanism and the related new common currency ECU was born on 13 March 1979. The euro replaced the ECU 1:1 at the exchange rate markets, on 1 January 1999. During 1979-1999, the D-Mark functioned as a defacto anchor for the ECU, meaning there was only a minor difference between pegging your currency against ECU and pegging it against the D-mark.
The eurozone was born with its first 11 Member States on 1 January 1999. The first enlargement of the eurozone, to Greece, took place on 1 January 2001, one year before the euro had physically entered into circulation. The next enlargements were to states which joined the EU in 2004, and then joined the eurozone on 1 January in the mentioned year: Slovenia (2007), Cyprus (2008), Malta (2008), Slovakia (2009), Estonia (2011), Latvia (2014), and Lithuania (2015).
All new EU members having joined the bloc after the signing of the Maastricht treaty in 1992, are obliged to adopt the euro under the terms of their accession treaties. However, the last of the five economic convergence criteria which needs first to be complied with in order to qualify for euro adoption, is the exchange rate stability criterion, which requires having been an ERM-member for a minimum of two years without the presence of "severe tensions" for the currency exchange rate.
In September 2011, a diplomatic source close to the euro adoption preparation talks between the seven remaining new Member States from Eastern Europe who had yet to adopt the euro (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania), claimed that the monetary union (eurozone) they had thought they were going to join upon their signing of the accession treaty may very well end up being a very different union entailing much closer fiscal, economic and political convergence. This changed legal status of the eurozone could potentially cause them to conclude that the conditions for their promise to join were no longer valid, which "could force them to stage new referendums" on euro adoption.
The late-2000s financial crisis prompted a number of reforms in the Eurozone. One was a u-turn on the Eurozone's bailout policy that led to the creation of a specific fund to assist Eurozone states in trouble. The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) were created in 2010 to provide, alongside the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a system and fund to bail out members. However the EFSF and EFSM were temporary, small and lacked a basis in the EU treaties. Therefore, it was agreed in 2011 to establish a European Stability Mechanism (ESM) which would be much larger, funded only by Eurozone states (not the EU as a whole as the EFSF/EFSM were) and would have a permanent treaty basis. As a result of that its creation involved agreeing an amendment to TEFU Article 136 allowing for the ESM and a new ESM treaty to detail how the ESM would operate. If both are successfully ratified according to schedule, the ESM would be operational by the time the EFSF/EFSM expire in mid-2013.
Strong EU oversight in the fields of taxation and budgetary policy and the enforcement mechanisms that go with it have sometimes been described as potential infringements on the sovereignty of Eurozone member states However, in June 2010, a broad agreement was finally reached on a controversial proposal for member states to peer review each other's budgets prior to their presentation to national parliaments. Although showing the entire budget to each other was opposed by Germany, Sweden and the UK, each government would present to their peers and the Commission their estimates for growth, inflation, revenue and expenditure levels six months before they go to national parliaments. If a country was to run a deficit, they would have to justify it to the rest of the EU while countries with a debt more than 60% of GDP would face greater scrutiny.
The plans would apply to all EU members, not just the Eurozone, and have to be approved by EU leaders along with proposals for states to face sanctions before they reach the 3% limit in the Stability and Growth Pact. Poland has criticised the idea of withholding regional funding for those who break the deficit limits, as that would only impact the poorer states. In June 2010 France agreed to back Germany's plan for suspending the voting rights of members who breach the rules. In March 2011 was initiated a new reform of the Stability and Growth Pact aiming at straightening the rules by adopting an automatic procedure for imposing of penalties in case of breaches of either the deficit or the debt rules.
- The self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not recognised by the EU and uses the Turkish lira. However the euro does circulate widely.
- French Pacific territories use the CFP franc, which is pegged to the euro.(1 franc = 0.00838 euro)
- Uses the Swiss franc. However the euro is also accepted and circulates widely.
- Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but not the EU. It uses the Aruban florin, which is pegged to the US dollar.(1 dollar = 1.79 florins)
- Currently uses the Netherlands Antillean guilder and plans to introduce the Caribbean guilder in 2014;  [needs update] both are pegged to the US dollar.(1 dollar = 1.79 guilder)
- Uses the US Dollar.
- Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.
- The ECB announced on 22 December 1998 that, between 4 and 21 January 1999, there would be a narrow corridor of 50 base points interest rates for the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility in order to help the transition to the ECB's interest regime.
- "Total population as of 1 January". Epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- "Gross domestic product at market prices". Epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- Key ECB interest rates, ECB
- HICP – all items – annual average inflation rate Eurostat
- Harmonised unemployment rate by gender – total – [teilm020,; Total % (SA) Eurostat
- For the whole of 2012. Euroindicators 15 February 2013, Eurostat
- "Countries, languages, currencies". Interinstitutional style guide. the EU Publications Office. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
The euro area, European Central Bank
- "Who can join and when?". European Commission. Retrieved 2012-09-10.
- Fox, Benjamin (1 February 2013). "Dutch PM: Eurozone needs exit clause". EUobserver.com. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- "Agreements on monetary relations (Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican and Andorra)". European Communities. 30 September 2004. Retrieved 12 September 2006.
- "The government announces a contest for the design of the Andorran euros". Andorra Mint. 2013-03-19. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- "Nouvelles d'Andorre" (in French). 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2013-02-02.[dead link]
- "The euro outside the euro area". Europa (web portal). Retrieved 26 February 2011.
- A glossary issued by the ECB defines "euro area", without mention of Monaco, San Marino, or the Vatican.
- "Sverige sa nej till euron" (in Swedish). Swedish Parliament. 28 August 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- "Information on ERM II". European Commission. 22 December 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
- Dougherty, Carter (1 December 2008). "Buffeted by financial crisis, countries seek euro's shelter". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 December 2008.[dead link]
- "Czechs, Poles cooler to euro as they watch debt crisis". Reuters. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
- "Lithuanian government endorses euro introduction plan". 15 min. 2013-02-25. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "Monetary Agreement between the European Union and the Principality of Andorra". 30 June 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- "Cinca preveu que Andorra pugui començar a emetre euros el gener del 2014". 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
- Poy, Ricard (2013-12-11). "Govern fixarà límits per a l’adquisició dels euros andorrans". Diari d'Andorra. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
- "De les peces de coure a l’euro propi, el procés d’emissió de moneda a Andorra". Bondia. 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
- "European Foundation Intelligence Digest". Europeanfoundation.org. Retrieved 30 May 2010.[dead link]
- "Euro used as legal tender in non-EU nations". International Herald Tribune. 1 January 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2010.[dead link]
- "Europe, The eurozone's 13th member". BBC News. 11 December 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "Unilateral Euroization By Iceland Comes With Real Costs And Serious Risks". Lawofemu.info. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- Athanassiou, Phoebus (December 2009) Withdrawal and Expulsion from the EU and EMU, Some Reflections (PDF), European Central Bank. Retrieved 8 September 2011
- Phillips, Leigh. "EUobserver / Netherlands: Indebted states must be made ‘wards’ of the commission or leave euro". Euobserver.com. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
- Dammann, Jens (February 10, 2012). "The Right to Leave the Eurozone". U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper. 2013 48 (2). Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- Eichengreen, Barry (23 July 2011) Can the Euro Area Hit the Rewind Button? (PDF), University of California. Retrieved 8 September 2011
- Treaty of Lisbon (Provisions specific to member states whose currency is the euro)[dead link], EurLex
- "An economic government for the eurozone?". Federal Union. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
- Protocols, Official Journal of the European Union
- Elitsa Vucheva (15 April 2008). "Eurozone countries should speak with one voice, Juncker says". EU Observer. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
- "ECB: Structure of the euro area economy". Ecb.europa.eu. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
- Data (1985-04-04). "GDP, PPP (current international $) | Data | Table". Data.worldbank.org. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
- Figures from the April 2014 update of the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook Database. for the countries of the world. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- European Central Bank (14 December 2007). "Euro area (changing composition) – HICP – Overall index, Annual rate of change, Eurostat, Neither seasonally or working day adjusted". Retrieved 9 September 2011.
- October 2008 "The World Factbook – (Rank Order – Public debt)". Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2008. (all estimates 2007 data unless noted)
- "Annex Table 33. General government net financial liabilities". 2 January 2011.[dead link]
- ""Annex Table 32. General government gross financial liabilities" in OECD Economic Outlook". OECD. Retrieved 2 January 2011. (2009; direct URL of datasheet is OECD.org[dead link]
- "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". IMF. Retrieved 11 December 2008. (General government gross debt 2008 estimates rounded to one decimal place)
- "The World Factbook – (Rank Order – Public debt)". Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.(all estimates 2009 data unless noted)
- "General government debt". Eurostat. Retrieved 28 May 2011. (General government gross debt 2009 estimates rounded to one decimal place)
- "Key figures on Europe 2012". Eurostat. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2010 Article IV Consultation with Austria". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2009 Article IV Consultation with Belgium". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "IMF Executive Board Concludes 2010 Article IV Consultation with Cyprus". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "State of the Union: Can the euro zone survive its debt crisis? (p.4)" (PDF). Economist Intelligence Unit. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2010 Article IV Consultation with Finland". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2010 Article IV Consultation with France". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2010 Article IV Consultation with Germany". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2010 Article IV Consultation with Ireland". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2010 Article IV Consultation with Italy". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2010 Article IV Consultation with Luxembourg". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Kingdom of the Netherlands—Netherlands: 2009 Article IV Consultation—Staff Report; Staff Statement; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Kingdom of the Netherlands—Netherlands; IMF Country Report 10/34; December 15, 2009" (PDF). Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2009 Article IV Consultation with Portugal". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2010 Article IV Consultation with the Slovak Republic". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Public Information Notice: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2010 Article IV Consultation with Spain". Imf.org. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "European Council Press release on the creation of a fiscal union". Consilium.europa.eu. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "New EU members to break free from euro duty". Euractiv.com. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- (English)"see Ionescu Romeo, "Romania and Greece: Together or Alone", AJBM Vol. 4(19), p. 4197, December 2010 [Quoting Q1 2010 article (in French) by M. Nicolas J. Firzli in Revue Analyse Financière]". Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- EU agrees controversial peer review of national budgets, EU Observer
- Willis, Andrew (15 June 2010) Merkel: Spain can access aid if needed, EU Observer
- "Council reaches agreement on measures to strengthen economic governance" (PDF). Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- Jan Strupczewski (15 March 2011). "EU finmins adopt tougher rules against debt, imbalance". Uk.finance.yahoo.com. Retrieved 18 May 2011.[dead link]
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Eurozone official portal
- European Central Bank
- Central Bank Rates, ECB Key Rate, chart and data
- European Commission – Economic and Financial Affairs – Eurozone
- Media related to Eurozone at Wikimedia Commons