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The Advent of the Euro

On 1 January 2002, the euro became the official currency for over 300 million people in 12 European states – Austria, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Luxembourg and Finland – which states are known collectively as the “eurozone.” The United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden are the only European Union nations to currently decline membership in the eurozone. The final remaining nation in Western Europe, Switzerland, has a centuries-old tradition of economic and political neutrality and has accordingly declined membership in both the European Union and the eurozone.


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