Out of the 28-member countries of the European Union, 19 of them use the Euro as their currency tender. The group of countries that use the Euro are known as the Eurozone or Euro area and consists of approximately 343 million people within these Euro-using countries.

The Euro is also the second most-used currency worldwide, after the United States Dollar. This detailed guide will provide you with more information on the countries in the EU that use the Euro, as well as the numerous advantages and disadvantages of a country adopting the Euro. The UK did not adopt the euro and therefore trades pound vs euro exchange rate.

Countries that use the Euro

The Euro began with just 12-member countries when it was first launched between 1999 and 2002. Since then, it’s grown to 19-member countries, consisting of more than 343 million people, all of whom use the Euro as their main form of currency tender every single day.

Below you can find the list of the 19 European Union member countries who use the Euro as their main form of legal tender.

Austria

  • European Union member since 1995
  • Euro area member since 1999
  • Population of 8.7 million people

Belgium

  • European Union member since 1958
  • Euro area member since 1999
  • Population of 11.5 million people

Cyprus

  • European Union member since 2004
  • Euro area member since 2008
  • Population of 1.2 million people

Estonia

  • European Union member since 2004
  • Euro area member since 2011
  • Population of 1.3 million people

Finland

  • European Union member since 1995
  • Euro area member since 1999
  • Population of 5.5 million people

France

  • European Union member since 1958
  • Euro area member since 1999
  • Population of 65.4 million people

Germany

  • European Union member since 1958
  • Euro area member since 1999
  • Population of 82.4 million people

Greece

  • European Union member since 1981
  • Euro area member since 2001
  • Population of 11.1 million people

Ireland

  • European Union member since 1973
  • Euro area member since 1999
  • Population of 4.8 million people

Italy

  • European Union member since 1958
  • Euro area member since 1999
  • Population of 59.2 million people

Latvia

  • European Union member since 2004
  • Euro area member since 2014
  • Population of 1.9 million people

Lithuania

  • European Union member since 2004
  • Euro area member since 2015
  • Population of 2.8 million people

Luxembourg

  • European Union member since 1958
  • Euro area member since 1999
  • Population of 594,000 people

Malta

  • European Union member since 2004
  • Euro area member since 2008
  • Population of 432,000 people

Netherlands

  • European Union member since 1958
  • Euro area member since 1999
  • Population of 17.1 million people

Portugal

  • European Union member since 1986
  • Euro area member since 1999
  • Population of 10.2 million people

Slovakia

  • European Union member since 2004
  • Euro area member since 2009
  • Population of 5.4 million people

Slovenia

  • European Union member since 2004
  • Euro area member since 2007
  • Population of 2.1 million people

Spain

  • European Union member since 1986
  • Euro area member since 1999
  • Population of 46.4 million people

There are some members of the European Union who will join the Euro once they have met the necessary conditions. These countries include; Sweden, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

There are also some countries who have an opt-out clause; these include the United Kingdom and Denmark. When these countries became members of the European Union, they opted out of using the Euro as their legal tender, so they’re exempt by a legal clause from joining it.

How countries can join the Euro

For a country to join the Euro, they must fulfil a ‘convergence criteria’. This involves legal and economic conditions that were set out in the Maastricht Treaty in 1992; all EU countries are required to adopt the Euro at some stage, once they can fulfil these conditions.

The European Central Bank and the European Commission are responsible for determining whether a country has met these conditions and whether they’re able to adopt the Euro as their country’s legal tender.

The only two countries exempt from doing this are Denmark and the United Kingdom.

Benefits of the Euro

There are numerous advantages of a country belonging to the Euro; find some examples below.

  • Small countries are backed by Europe’s powerhouse countries such as France and Germany.
  • Weaker countries can enjoy lower interest rates; lower interest rates mean that the country is more attractive to foreign investors.
  • Larger companies can produce more at lower costs.
  • More competition between businesses.

Disadvantages of the Euro

While there are many advantages of a country adopting the Euro, unfortunately there are also several disadvantages too.

  • Some countries don’t want to give up their authority when it comes to printing their own currency; this ability allows them to control inflation.
  • Some countries struggle to meet the criteria needed to join the Euro; they must keep their annual budget deficits less than 3% of their gross domestic product. Also, the country’s debt-to-GDP must be less than 60%.
  • Smaller companies may sometimes struggle to compete with larger businesses.

Conclusion – how many countries use the Euro?

In conclusion, it can be said that the Euro has provided to be a great success for the European member countries that chose to adopt it.

Out of the 28-member states residing in the EU, 19 of those use the Euro as their main form of currency. Since it was first launched in 1999, the Euro has come a long way and is now the second most-used currency in the world.

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