Eurozone

The Eurozone is comprised of the 19 European Union nations that use the Euro as their common currency and legal tender. Unlike non Euro country’s members of the Eurozone are unable to set their own fiscal policy; instead that responsibility lies with the European Central Bank.

Eurozone member nations

Austria – adopted the Euro in 1999

After joining the Eurozone on January 1st 1999 the Euro became Austria’s official currency in January 2002. Before the Euro was introduced the Austrian currency was the Schilling (ATS). One Euro was approximately equal to 13.76 Schilling.

Austria is composed of nine federal provinces and operates a bicameral parliamentary system made up of the National and Federal Councils. The President of the Republic is elected every six years and is responsible for selecting the Federal Chancellor.

The nation’s central bank is the National Bank of Austria.

In the Council of the EU Austria holds 10 votes.


Belgium – adopted the Euro in 1999

Belgium was also an original member of the Eurozone, joining the currency bloc in January 1999. The Euro replaced the Belgian Franc (BEF) in 2002. One Euro was worth in the region of 40.33 Francs.

As a constitutional monarchy and federal state, the Belgian King is the Head of State but wields no political power. The Prime Minister runs the three-tier federal state.

The nation’s central bank is the National Bank of Belgium.

Belgium holds 12 votes in the Council of the EU.


Cyprus – adopted the Euro in 2008

Cyprus joined the Eurozone on January 1st 2008, just before the global financial crisis really kicked off, with the common currency being introduced to the nation on the same day. The Euro replaced the Cyprus Pound (CYP) which equated to 0.5852 Pounds per Euro.

This nation has a unicameral parliamentary system, with an 80 member strong Parliament known as the House of Representatives. In Cyprus the head of both state and government is the President of the Republic.

The Central Bank of Cyprus is the nation’s main financial body.

Cyprus has four votes in the Council of the EU.


Estonia – adopted the Euro in 2011

In January 2011 Estonia joined the currency bloc with the Euro replacing the Estonian Kroonid (EEK) on the same day. Approximately 15.64 Kroonid made 1 Euro.

The President of the Republic is the Estonian head of state and is elected to the position every five years by the Parliament. However, their role is primarily symbolic and power rests largely with the Prime Minister.

The Estonian Parliament, or Riigikogu, is made up of 101 members and is elected once every four years.

The Bank of Estonia is the nation’s central bank.

In the Council of the EU Estonia holds four votes.


Finland – adopted the Euro in 1999

Finland was one of the Eurozone’s first members, joining on January 1st 1999, with the currency being distributed in 2002. Before the Euro, Finland’s currency was the Markka (FIM) and converted at 5.94573 per Euro.

Every four years Finland votes on the line-up of its 200 member strong Parliament, with the President of the Republic serving for six years and taking responsibility for the appointment of the Prime Minister.

The Bank of Finland is the nation’s central bank.

Finland holds seven votes in the EU Council.


France – adopted the Euro in 1999

As it stands, France is the Eurozone’s second largest economy and has been a member of the currency bloc since January 1st 1999. The Euro replaced the French Franc (FRF) in 2002 with one Euro being the equivalent of 6.55957 Francs.

In France’s bicameral parliamentary system the government is comprised of the Senate and the National Assembly.

The President of the Republic is selected by a general public vote every five years, and one of the President’s political powers is to appoint the Prime Minister.

The French central bank is the Bank of France.

France possesses 29 votes in the EU Council.


Germany – adopted the Euro in 1999

Germany is the largest economy in the Eurozone and a member of the currency bloc since its creation in 1999. As was the case for all original members, the Euro currency was distributed across Germany in 2002. The Euro replaced the German Mark (DEM), with one Euro being roughly equivalent to 1.95583 Marks.

As a decentralised state, the Federal Republic of Germany is composed of federal states, districts and municipalities with power being held by the federal states and Federal Government.

Germany’s bicameral parliament is made up of the Bundestag (Federal Assembly) and Bundesrat (Federal Council) with the President of the Republic being the representative head of state and the Federal Chancellor holding executive power.

The German central bank is the Bundesbank.

Germany holds 29 votes in the European Union council.


Greece – adopted the Euro in 2001

In recent years Greece has been in the Eurozone spotlight due to notable fiscal difficulties and bailout concerns, but when the nation joined the currency bloc in January 2001 hopes were high.

The Euro replaced the Greek Drachma (GRD) in 2002, with one Euro worth approximately 340.750 Drachma.

The 300 members of the Greek Parliament are elected every four years, with the President of the Republic being chosen by Parliament every five years.

As the President has severely restricted political powers, decision-making power is held by the Prime Minister.

The Bank of Greece is the nation’s central bank.

12 votes are held by Greece in the EU Council.


Ireland – adopted the Euro in 1999

The Irish Pound (IEP) was replaced by the Euro in January 2002 – three years after Ireland joined the Eurozone. One Euro was equal to roughly 0.787546 Irish Pounds.

Ireland’s parliament is made up of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, with the President of the Republic holding a largely ceremonial role and the Prime Minister wielding executive power.

The Central Bank of Ireland is the nation’s main financial body.

Ireland has 7 votes at the Council of the EU.


Italy – adopted the Euro in 1999

As with Germany and France, Italy is an original member of the Eurozone, joining the currency bloc in 1999 and using the Euro from 2002.

Prior to the Euro the local currency was the Italian Lira, with a conversion rate of 1036.27 Lira to one Euro.

Although the Italian Republic is a collection of regions, provinces and municipalities, five of its regions are special states and have greater autonomy. These are Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sicily, Sardinia, Trentino-Alto-Adige and Val d’Aosta.

The Italian parliament is made up of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, with the President of the Republic holding the position of the head of state for terms of 7 years. As the President of the Republic’s role is largely honorary, executive power is exercised by the President of the Council of Ministers.

The Bank of Italy is the nation’s central bank.

Italy has 29 votes in the Council of the EU.


Latvia – adopted Euro in 2014

The newest member of the Eurozone Latvia only joined the single currency in January 2014. The implementation of the Euro came amidst a lot of public anger as many Latvians believed that adopting the currency would send prices higher in the country.


Lithuania – adopted the Euro in 2015

Lithuania became the last of the three Baltic States to adopt the Euro at the beginning of 2015, following Estonia (who joined the Eurozone back in 2011) and Latvia (who became a member of the currency bloc in 2014).

Prior to adopting the common currency, Lithuania’s official currency was the Litas (LTL). When still in circulation the Litas was pegged to the Euro and its value equated to 3.4528 Litas per one Euro.

Lithuania is a Republic, having declared itself independent from the Soviet republic in 1990. While the nation’s President is head of the government, the Prime Minister acts as the country’s executive arm. Lithuania is a member of NATO, the Council of Europe and the European Union.

The Central Bank of the Republic of Lithuania is the country’s main financial body and Lithuania gets 7 votes in the European Council.


Luxembourg – adopted the Euro in 1999

After joining the Eurozone at its inception in 1999, Luxembourg rescinded its national Franc (LUF) in favour of the Euro. One Euro equated to 40.3399 Francs.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has a unicameral parliamentary system as well as a hereditary Grand Duke.

As the head of state, the Grand Duke selects the Prime Minister, who heads the Luxembourg parliament.

The nation’s central financial institution is the Central Bank of Luxembourg.

Luxembourg holds 4 votes in the EU Council.


Malta – adopted the Euro in 2008

As soon as Malta joined the Eurozone on 1st January 2008 the Euro replaced the Maltese Lira at an exchange rate of 0.42930 Lira to one Euro.

The President of the Republic is Mata’s head of state and responsible for appointing the Prime Minister, who heads up the House of Representatives.

The Central Bank of Malta is the main Maltese financial body.

Malta holds 3 votes in the Council of the EU.


Netherlands – adopted the Euro in 1999

After the Netherlands became a founding member of the Eurozone in 1999 the Dutch Guilder (NLG) was phased out, to be replaced by the Euro in 2002.

One Euro was exchangeable with 2.20371 Guilder.

As one of the few remaining monarchies in the Eurozone, the Netherland’s monarch is the nation’s head of state and is responsible for appointing the Prime Minister.

However, the monarch has few other political powers and the parliament (made up of the Senate and House of Representatives) is responsible for national policy.

The Bank of the Netherlands is the nation’s central financial institution.

The Netherlands has 13 votes in the EU Council.


Portugal – adopted the Euro in 1999

As with neighbouring Spain, Portugal has been a member of the Eurozone since 1999.

The Portuguese Escudo (PTE), which was worth 200.482 per Euro, was replaced by the Euro in 2002.

Two autonomous regions (Madeira and the Azores) in conjunction with 18 districts form the Portuguese Republic with the Assembly of the Republic being the nation’s unicameral parliamentary system.

During their elected five-year term in office the President of the Republic is responsible for selecting the Prime Minister and adopting a role of mediation.

The Portuguese central bank is The Bank of Portugal.

Portugal holds 12 votes at the Council of the EU.


Slovakia – adopted the Euro in 2009

Ten years after the Eurozone first formed in 1999 Slovakia joined the currency bloc. The Euro replaced the Slovak Koruna (SKK) on 1st January 2009 at an exchange rate of 30.1260 Koruna to one Euro.

Slovakia’s parliament is known as the National Council of the Slovak Republic and is made up of 150 members, elected every four years.

The Slovakian President of the Republic has limited political powers, with the nation’s Prime Minister being largely responsible for policy.

The National Bank of Slovakia is the country’s central bank.

Slovakia has 7 EU Council votes to its name.


Slovenia – adopted the Euro in 2007

After joining the Eurozone in 2007, Slovenia immediately replaced the Slovenian Tolar (SIT) with the Euro at a conversion rate of 239.640 Tolar to one Euro.

In Slovenia’s bicameral parliamentary system the parliament is made up of the Council of State and the National Assembly.

Every five years the public vote to select the President of the Republic, and although the President has the power to suggest a Prime Minister their nomination must be approved by Parliament.

The Bank of Slovenia is the nation’s central bank.

Slovenia has 4 votes at the Council of the EU.


Spain – adopted the Euro in 1999

Spain joined the newly formed Eurozone on January 1st 1999, with the Euro replacing the Spanish Peseta (ESP) in 2002.

166.386 Pesetas were roughly equal to one Euro.

17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities make up the Kingdom of Spain, with the Spanish monarch being the nation’s head of state.

The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies form the Spanish parliament (Cortes Generales) with the President of the Government holding executive power.

The Bank of Spain is the national central bank.

Spain is the holder of 27 EU council votes.