The Euro: Europe's New Money
Part 2: What's the Big Deal?
So what's the big deal about the euro? Well, for starters, it's the first time that most European countries have had to give up their national money. Greece, for instance, has had the drachma as its national money for 2,000 years. Germany's deutschemark has usually been used as a benchmark against which to measure the strength of the dollar, the British pound, and other currencies.
However, these European countries have agreed to accept euros for the following very important reason: It makes it easier to trade with other countries. A fish merchant in Spain can sell his fish to an Austrian fish market for euros. Then, that same Spanish fish merchant can take those very same euros and spend them in his country on whatever he wants. He doesn't have to change the Austrian money into Spanish money.
In the same way, tourists who travel to other European countries can spend the money they already have in their pockets. They won't have to go to an exchange market or a bank.
The euro will save time, money, and hassle.
In Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, however, euros will be accepted but not given in return, at least officially. Buckingham Palace, where the Queen of England lives, has said it will not accept euros. But shopkeepers throughout the U.K. will undoubtedly accept euros from their customers.
It's an exciting time in the European Union.
Graphics courtesy of ArtToday