L’euro : une monnaie, 20 pays – un voyage de 25 ans
1 January 1999 marked a crucial moment in the history of the European Union, when the euro was introduced as the single currency in 11 member states. Twenty years later, 2024, EU leaders, including Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, Paschal Donohoe, President of the Eurogroup, Christine Lagarde, President of the ECB, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, celebrated this anniversary with a joint message.
In their speech, European leaders underlined the vital role of the euro in the daily lives of 350 million citizens in 20 countries, providing simplicity, stability and sovereignty. They recalled how the European Union has always relied on economic cooperation to address challenges that no country could overcome alone.
The birth of the euro was the result of an ambitious vision that emerged in the late 1980s. On January 1, 1999, this dream came true, unifying the currencies of 11 nations into a single currency. Since then, the euro has made the lives of European citizens easier, allowing them to compare prices, trade and travel more easily.
The euro has also demonstrated its resilience during periods of financial crises and economic turmoil. It has helped protect economic growth and jobs through safeguards such as the Harmonized System of Banking Supervision and the European Stability Mechanism.
Significantly, the euro area has grown from 11 to 20 countries, testifying to its attractiveness and importance in the global economic landscape. However, despite the successes, European leaders recognize that there are significant challenges on the horizon.
Europe faces growing geopolitical tensions, such as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which require courageous collective decisions. The climate crisis is accelerating, and carbon emissions know no borders. Furthermore, energy and industrial policies in other parts of the world threaten European competitiveness.
To address these challenges, European leaders propose solutions such as building a true capital markets union, using European tools to improve competitiveness and security, and preparing for a digital euro in the evolving digital age.
Europeans are aware that the world is changing rapidly and that there is strength in unity. The majority of Europeans believe that the EU represents a bastion of stability. European leaders call for demonstration that Europe can shape these changes and meet the expectations of its citizens.
This will require ambition, perseverance and the understanding that some challenges take time to overcome. However, the first 25 years of the euro demonstrate that a dream can be successful. As the world continues to change, a united Europe offers the answers that Europe and the world need.