- Introduction to the EURO -

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12 European countries (listed in blue) are moving to a new currency, the EURO, on January 1, 2002. There will be seven different banknotes and eight coins.

The euro symbol was created by the European Commission as part of its communications work for the single currency. The design had to satisfy three simple criteria:

. to be a highly recognisable symbol of Europe
. to be easy to write by hand
. to have an aesthetically pleasing design.

Thirty or so drafts were drawn up internally. Of these, ten were subject to a qualitative assessment by the general public.

Two designs emerged from the survey well ahead of the rest. It was from these two that the then President of the Commission, Jacques Santer, and the European Commissioner in charge of the euro, Yves-Thibault de Silguy, made their final choice.

On 1 January 2002, seven banknotes will be introduced in 12 Member States of the European Union.

On the front of the banknotes, windows and gateways symbolise the European spirit of openness and co-operation. The 12 stars of the European Union represent the dynamism and harmony between European nations.

To complement these designs, the reverse of each banknote features a bridge. The bridges symbolise the close co-operation and communication between Europe and the rest of the world.

For more information about the euro move to the official European Central Bank web-site.

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