On 1 January 2002, twelve EU Member States introduced banknotes and coins denominated in the single currency. Prior to that date, the euro had existed only in non-cash form for a transitional period of three years (or only one year in the case of Greece). On 1 January 2007, the euro was introduced in Slovenia. Unlike in the original euro area members, both the non-cash euro and euro banknotes and coins (the “Big Bang” scenario) were introduced as of the same date. Two other countries – Cyprus and Malta – entered the euro area on 1 January 2008, followed by Slovakia on 1 January 2009. The euro was introduced in Estonia in 2011 and Latvia in 2014. The last country so far to enter the euro area was Lithuania, which adopted the single currency as of 1 January 2015. The process of the euro introduction was smooth in all countries. Except for Denmark’s voluntary participation, no country is currently a member of the ERM II exchange rate mechanism, so no additional countries can be expected to enter the euro area in the near future. Denmark and the United Kingdom have a permanent opt-out clause on euro area entry.
Euro banknotes and coins have a standardised form. Banknotes are the same in all euro area countries. Coins are the same in all countries with regard to diameter, weight, thickness, shape and edge marking and are made of the same materials. They have one identical side (common side) indicating the denomination. The other side (national side) differs from country to country. However, this does not affect the use of the coins in other euro area countries.
The euro has the international currency code EUR. The euro symbol is a stylised Greek letter epsilon, reflecting the European nature of the currency. The double horizontal line inside the letter symbolises the stability of the new currency.
- Euro – official pages of the European Central Bank concerning the euro (information on technical specifications, counterfeits, conversion rates, validity of legacy currencies, etc.)
- Euro – official pages of the European Commission concerning the euro
- Euro – official pages of the Czech Republic to the euro
Institutional, technical, organisational and legislative arrangements for euro adoption in the Czech Republic and the CNB's involvement therein
In 2006, the National Coordination Group was established to coordinate the institutional, technical and legislative preparations for the introduction of the euro in the Czech Republic. Responsibility for the process of euro adoption was delegated to the Ministry of Finance, with the CNB acting as one of the key partners in the process. It was also decided to appoint a National Coordinator for the introduction of the euro. A National Coordination Group was set up, along with six working groups for the individual changeover areas. These are working groups concerned with:
- the financial sector – responsibility of the CNB
- communication – joint responsibility of the CNB and the Ministry of Finance
- information technology and statistics – responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior
- legislation – responsibility of the Ministry of Justice
- the non-financial sector and consumer protection – responsibility of the Ministry of Industry and Trade
- public finances and public administration – responsibility of the Ministry of Finance
The CNB is involved in the activities of all the working groups. In 2011, the activities of the National Coordination Group were scaled down because of the absence of a target date for euro introduction in the Czech Republic. The CNB and the Ministry of Finance annually prepare a joint document Assessment of the Fulfilment of the Maastricht Convergence Criteria and the Degree of Economic Alignment of the Czech Republic with the Euro Area, which is an underlying document providing recommendations for the Czech government’s potential decision on setting a target date for euro area entry in the Czech Republic. The latest assessment was submitted to the government in December 2014, with the Ministry of Finance and the Czech National Bank, in line with the Czech Republic’s Updated Euro-area Accession Strategy, recommending that the Czech government should not set a target date for euro area entry for the time being and that it should not attempt to enter ERM II during 2015.