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The euro - the EU single currency

Latest news about the European Union's single currency.

Latvia ready to adopt euro in 2014 - EC convergence report
The European Commission has published its 2013 Convergence Report on Latvia, together with a citizen's summary that briefly explains the report and the rationale behind it. The Commission concludes that Latvia has achieved a high degree of sustainable economic convergence with the euro area and proposes that the Council decide on Latvia’s adoption of the euro as from 1 January 2014.

Proposal for a Directive on Payment Accounts
The European Commission publishes today a proposal for a Directive on the transparency and comparability of payment account fees, payment account switching and access to a basic payment account. Bank accounts are now an essential part of everyday life, allowing us to make and receive payments, shop online, and pay utility bills (telephone, gas, electricity). European citizens are consequently not able to fully participate in society without a basic bank account.

European Stability Mechanism
The European Stability Mechanism is a permanent crisis resolution mechanism for the countries of the euro area. The ESM issues debt instruments in order to finance loans and other forms of financial assistance to euro area Members States. The decision leading to the creation of the ESM was taken by the European Council in December 2010. The euro area Member States signed an intergovernmental treaty establishing the ESM on 2 February 2012. The ESM was inaugurated on 8 October 2012.

Next steps towards a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union
The European Commission has presented two new Communications on the next steps towards a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The aim is to strengthen economic policy coordination and integration in the euro area. The Commission says these Communications follow commitments made in its 'Blueprint for a Deep and Genuine Economic and Monetary Union' last November, and respond to calls from the European Council to take work forward on these two fronts. The Communication on the ex-ante coordination of plans for major economic policy reforms contains options on how to organise EU-level discussions on large-scale economic policy reforms in the Member States before final decisions are taken at national level. The reasoning behind this is to properly take into account any positive or negative spillovers of the reforms on other euro area countries early on in the decision-making process. The Communication on a Convergence and Competitiveness Instrument (CCI) sets out options for two instruments: contractual arrangements for Member States to undertake specific reforms and financial support to help Member States implement these reforms. These two new instruments complement the structures that already exist for the surveillance of budgetary and economic policy at EU level, which have been enhanced through the European Semester, Six Pack and Two Pack reforms.

Blueprint for a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)
The European Commission adopted on 28 November a Blueprint for a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union, which provides a vision for a strong and stable architecture in the financial, fiscal, economic and political domains.

New package for banking supervision in the Eurozone
The European Commission sees its proposals for a single supervisory mechanism (SSM) for banks in the euro area as an important step in strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). In the new single mechanism, ultimate responsibility for specific supervisory tasks related to the financial stability of all Euro area banks will lie with the European Central Bank (ECB). National supervisors will continue to play an important role in day-to-day supervision and in preparing and implementing ECB decisions. The Commission is also proposing that the European Banking Authority (EBA) develop a Single Supervisory Handbook to preserve the integrity of the single market and ensure coherence in banking supervision for all 27 EU Member States. The Commission is calling on the Council and European Parliament to adopt the proposed regulations by the end of 2012, together with the other three components of an integrated "banking union" – the single rulebook in the form of capital requirements, harmonised deposit protection schemes, and a single European recovery and resolution framework.

Basic banking services for all - guide
Basic banking services should be a legal right for the 10 per cent of EU citizens who currently have none, including homeless people, people on very low incomes, students, and people with no credit record and expatriate workers, the European Parliament said on 4 July. MEPs called on the European Commission to table legislation by January 2013 to tackle this financial exclusion.

Regulatory Capital
EU rules on capital requirements for credit institutions and investment firms aim to put in place a comprehensive and risk-sensitive framework and to foster enhanced risk management amongst financial institutions. Legislation in force (CRD I, CRD II and CRD III packages) - New proposals (CRD IV package)

Bank recovery and resolution proposal - guide
The European Commission has adopted proposals for EU-wide rules for bank recovery and resolution. These are aimed at ensuring that in future authorities will have the means to intervene decisively both before problems occur and early on in the process if they do. Furthermore, if the financial situation of a bank deteriorates beyond repair, the proposal ensures that a bank's critical functions can be rescued while the costs of restructuring and resolving failing banks fall upon the bank's owners and creditors and not on taxpayers.

TorFX: Company profile
TorFX is a leading provider of foreign exchange services, offering competitive currency exchange rates for international money transfers and an unrivalled personal service to private individuals and companies with a foreign currency exchange requirement. The company prides itself on its ability to save its customers money.

Green Paper on Shadow Banking - guide
As part of the EU's banking reforms in response to the financial crisis, the European Commission has turned its attention to the growing area of non-bank credit activity, or so-called "shadow banking", which has so far not been a prime focus of prudential regulation and supervision. It acknowledges that shadow banking performs important functions in the financial system. For example it creates additional sources of funding and offers investors alternatives to bank deposits. But it asserts that it can also pose potential threats to long-term financial stability because unknown sources of risk accumulate in the financial sector and there are potential spill-over effects from the shadow banking sector to the regular banking sector. In response to invitations by the G20 in Seoul in 2010 and in Cannes in 2011, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) is in the process of developing recommendations on the oversight and regulation of these entities and activities. With today's consultation in the form of a Green Paper, the Commission is participating actively in the ongoing FSB work.

Step-by-step guide to using TorFX
Guidance on how to use TorFX, the EUbusiness.com partner for providing foreign exchange services.

Buying property in Europe
The past six months have seen extreme volatility in the currency markets. TorFX assists their clients with timing the execution of their trades.

Euro indicators
Statistics for Economic and Monetary Union (euro-zone) and European Union (EU-15) from Eurostat

Euro facts and figures
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.

EMU and the euro - guide
The euro is a resounding success, says the European Commission today. The protection provided by an international currency with a market of nearly 320 million people, supported by sound public finances and stable macroeconomic policies, is particularly welcome in these times of uncertainty and worrying increases in the prices of energy and food. But as we complete 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the Commission says we must acknowledge that there is still work to be done. The euro area’s governance and coordination of economic policies must be improved. This will involve both deepening and broadening economic surveillance arrangements to guide fiscal policy over the cycle and in the long term and, at the same time, address divergences in growth, inflation and competitiveness. We also need to better project our voice in the global arena, to reflect the euro’s weight as an international currency used well beyond its borders. Only then will the benefits of the single currency become fully apparent to the citizens of the euro area.

Italy's Tremonti to meet eurozone's Juncker Wednesday
Italian finance minister Giulio Tremonti will hold talks on Wednesday in Luxembourg with eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker, as pressure intensified on Rome on government bond markets.

Capital requirements directive revision - guide
Banks have been at the centre of the financial crisis the global economy is facing since 2008. Lessons have been drawn from this and mistakes of the past should not repeat themselves. This is why the European Commission has brought forward today proposals to change the behaviour of the 8000 banks that operate in Europe The overarching goal of this proposal is to strengthen the resilience of the EU banking sector while ensuring that banks continue to finance economic activity and growth.

Access to a basic payment account - guide
According to recent studies, around 30 million consumers over the age of 18 in the European Union do not have a bank account. Out of these 30 million 'unbanked' citizens, it is estimated that between 6 and 7 million do not have a bank account because they have been denied access to one. These individuals cannot currently benefit fully from the Single Market. Today's Recommendation from the European Commission on access to a basic payment account will promote financial and social inclusion for consumers across Europe. The Commission invites Member States to ensure that such accounts become available at a reasonable charge to consumers, regardless of their country of residence in the EU or their financial situation. It will assess the situation in one year's time and propose any further measures as necessary, including legislative measures.

EU set to release more loans to keep Greece afloat
Eurozone finance ministers, gathering in Luxembourg Sunday, were set to release more loans to keep Athens from default in the summer and mull the shape of a second major bailout to appease nervous markets.

Consultation on the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative
The principal idea behind the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative is to provide EU support to project companies issuing bonds to finance large-scale infrastructure projects. The purpose of the consultation is to obtain market participants' and decision makers' feedback on the chosen mechanism and its essential terms and conditions, to gauge demand for the initiative in terms of market volumes and the depth of the investor base.

Assessment of the changeover to the euro in Estonia
The Commission on 22 March 2011 adopted a Communication on the introduction of the euro in Estonia. It presents the most important aspects of the changeover to the single currency and draws some conclusions for future changeovers in other Member States. All available information confirms that the changeover in Estonia was well prepared and smoothly implemented and perceived as successful by a large majority of citizens. Pricing stability has also been a key element of the changeover with the 'Fair Pricing Agreement', whereby subscribers to the Agreement commit not to increase their prices without justification.

Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS)
The Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) gives advice to the European Commission on policy and regulatory issues related to banking supervision. It also promotes cooperation and convergence of supervisory practice across the European Union, especially through the development of guidelines and recommendations, addressed both to credit institutions and national supervisors. In addition, CEBS contributes to the consistent implementation of these guidelines and recommendations through trainings etc and promotes a common application of Community legislation through peer reviews and other tools. Since 2009, CEBS has been tasked to provide regular bank sector analysis and perform assessments on risks, vulnerabilities, etc on the banking sector and reports its outcomes periodically to the EU political institutions.

EU to make cross border transportation of euro cash easier
The European Commission has adopted today a proposal for an EU Regulation to lift regulatory obstacles to professional cross-border transportation of euro cash by road between euro-area Member States.

MEPs set to approve EU-US bank data transfer agreement
Four months ago, European Parliament rejected the EU-USA SWIFT bank data transfer agreement. This week, Euro-MPs should approve a new version of the text, after negotiating certain safeguards with the Council of Ministers and the US Treasury Department.