The euro turns 20 tomorrow.
On January 1, 1999, 11 EU countries launched the common currency, and introduced a shared monetary policy under the European Central Bank.
The historic moment was a milestone on a journey driven by the ambition of ensuring stability and prosperity in Europe.
Today, the euro is the currency of 340 million Europeans in 19 member states. It has brought tangible benefits to European households, businesses and governments alike: stable prices, lower transaction costs, protected savings, more transparent and competitive markets, and increased trade.
Some 60 countries around the world link their currencies to the euro in one way or another. Other EU member states are expected to join the euro area once the criteria are met.
To mark this anniversary, the five Presidents of the EU institutions and bodies most directly responsible for the euro, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Central Bank and the Eurogroup, commented on the 20 years of the single currency and on its future.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said, "As one of the only signatories of the Maastricht Treaty still politically active today, I remember the hard-fought and momentous negotiations on the launch of the Economic and Monetary Union. More than anything, I recall a deep conviction that we were opening a new chapter in our joint history. A chapter that would shape Europe's role in the world and the future of all its people. 20 years on, I am convinced that this was the most important signature I ever made."
Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, said the euro is more popular today than ever: three out of four citizens believe it is good for our economy. "In order for Europeans to benefit fully from the jobs, growth and solidarity that the single currency should bring, we must complete our Economic and Monetary union through genuine financial, fiscal and political Union," he said.
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, said the creation of the euro 20 years ago — alongside the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany— was a pivotal moment in European history.
Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, said the euro was a logical and necessary consequence of the single market. "It makes it easier to travel, trade and transact within the euro area and beyond. After 20 years, there is now a generation who knows no other domestic currency. During that time, the ECB has delivered on its main task of maintaining price stability. But we also contribute to the well-being of euro area citizens by developing safe, innovative banknotes, promoting secure payment systems, supervising banks to ensure they are resilient and overseeing financial stability in the euro area."
Mário Centeno, President of the Eurogroup, said the single currency has been one of the biggest European success stories. "There can be no doubt about its importance and impact over the first two decades of its history. But its future is still being written, and that puts a historic responsibility on us. We need to be prepared for what the future may hold – we owe that to our citizens."