Euro facts and figures24 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 28 December 2011
Euro-zone countries share a common European currency, the euro. They have locked the exchange rates of their national currencies to the euro, and share a single interest rate.
Euro notes and coins
On 1 January 2002, euro banknotes and coins entered circulation across twelve European Union countries (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland).
The seven banknote denominations have a common design in all countries, whilst the eight denominations of coins include different national designs on one side and a single European design on the other.
The first euro banknotes were introduced on 1st January 2002 and replaced twelve different sets of banknotes in the previous national currencies.
The European Central Bank is responsible for the overall authorisation of euro banknote issues but the practical aspects of putting these notes into circulation is carried out by the twelve national central banks of the euro area.
There are seven different denominations in the current euro banknote series, ranging from the €5 to the €500 note.
The designs of the notes are the same throughout the euro area and feature windows and gateways (on the front) and bridges (on the reverse) from different periods in Europe's architectural history.
Facts and figures
|Total cash in circulation (number)||10.4 billion notes||62.98 billion coins|
|Total cash in circulation (value)||EUR 565 billion||EUR 16.64 billion|
Total Value as a share of GDP
||7.06 %||0.21 %|
|Per capita figures||
|Average number per person||33.3 notes||202.3 coins|
|Average value per person
||EUR 1815||EUR 53.5|
|Most frequently used
euro banknote / coin
|Total number (% of total number)||EUR 50 (35.0 %)||1 cent (22 %)|
|Total value (% of total value)||EUR 500 (32.7 %)||EUR 2 (39.5 %)|
Who is in charge of euro notes and coins ?
The Eurosystem, which consist of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks of the 12 countries belonging to the euro area, has the exclusive right to issue euro banknotes. All decisions on the designs, the denominations, etc. of the euro banknotes are taken by the ECB.
The 12 euro-area Member States issue euro coins, while each country produces coins with its own national side. Production is generally entrusted to the national mints. The total value of euro coins being issued by each country is approved each year by the ECB.
Bringing euro banknotes and euro coins into circulation
Both the euro banknotes and the euro coins are brought into circulation by the different national central banks, largely through the different commercial banks which act as intermediaries for enterprises and the general public as well as through the cash-in-transit sector.
The conduct of monetary policy
The Eurosystem is in charge of defining and implementing the monetary policy of the euro area. Its primary objective in this respect is to maintain price stability in the euro area. It furthermore conducts foreign-exchange operations (consistent with the exchange-rate policy defined by the Council), holds and manages the official foreign reserves of the euro-area Member States and promotes the smooth operation of payment systems.
The euro symbol was designed by the Commission services. The final choice from among several proposed designs was made following a qualitative assessment by the general public conducted by a specialised organisation.
The € symbol is inspired by the Greek epsilon pointing back to the cradle of European civilisation and the first letter of Europe, crossed by two parallel lines to indicate the stability of the euro.
The early definition of a distinctive symbol for the euro also reflects the vocation of the euro to become one of the world's major currencies.Commission Communication on use of the euro symbol