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Brief History and Implementation Schedule On January 1 1999 eleven European countries replaced their national currencies and introduced a single European currency the Euro Some feel the euro is simply the ECU European Currency Unit renamed since the ECUs were exchanged one-for-one for new euros Bills and coins for the national currencies will remain in circulation as sub-denominations of the euro until January 1 2002 E-day when they will be exchanged against new euro coins and bills Within six months national currencies will be completely replaced with the euro notes and coins However all inter-bank commerce and stock exchange trade is now denominated in the official currency There has been some discussion about when E-day should take place Many merchants feel that January 1st is too close to the holiday season a high cash-circulation time of the year The merchants feel it will add to the confusion of the consumers and would like the date move to February or March of 2002 On November 8th 2000 European Union finance ministers agreed to eliminate the currencies of the 11 member nations four months ahead of schedule leaving banks businesses and consumers just two months to change over to Europes common currency Now German marks French francs and other old currencies will meet their demise March 1 2002 -- two months after the introduction of euro cash The changeover had been set for July 1 2002 The move aims to minimize confusion during the transition Pros and Cons of a Single European Currency There were many arguments for and against a single European currency Some of the arguments in favor of a single European currency include Transaction Costs Eliminating converting from one currency to another will benefit businesses as well as tourist No Exchange Rate Uncertainty A single currency eliminates the risk of unforeseen exchange rate revaluations or devaluations Transparency and Competition The direct comparability of prices and wages will
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