2002 marked the introduction of the Euro as the common currency in the Euro zone in 12 countries: Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. In the short run, one could say the blessings are mixed, partly because of the slow political response of the European countries on highly speculative market “movers”, but that will change slowly.

Without a lot of hoopla, four more countries switched to the Euro: Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Slovakia. January 1st, Estland became the 17th member.

The Euro is also used in some “overseas” area’s such as some French islands in the Caribbean and a few Spanish near the African continent. Non-joiners are Denmark and the UK.

Five more countries are expected to join in the next 5 years: Hungary, Litowenia, Letland, Poland and the Czech Republic. More here.