EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Euro area

The  European Commission defines the euro area as an area comprising those Member States of the EU that have adopted the euro as their currency.

All Member States are part of the Economic and Monetary Union and, as such, coordinate their economic policymaking to support the economic objectives of the EU. However, a number of Member States opted to replace their national currencies with the European single currency – the euro. These Member States form the euro area.

When the euro was first introduced in 1999 as a non-cash currency, the euro area was made up of 11 of the then 15 EU Member States (Denmark, Greece, Sweden and the UK were not part of the area). Greece joined the euro area in 2001, one year before the currency changeover date, followed by Slovenia in 2007, Cyprus and Malta in 2008, Slovakia in 2009, Estonia in 2011, Latvia in 2014 and Lithuania in 2015. At present, the euro area cnsists of 19 EU Member States.

Of the Member States outside the euro area, Denmark and the United Kingdom have an ‘opt-out’ from joining the single currency, laid down in protocols annexed to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, although they are permitted to join in the future. This is unlikely for the UK, given that it plans to leave the EU in 2019. Sweden has not yet qualified to be part of the euro area.

The remaining non-euro area Member States are among those which acceded to the EU in 2004, 2007 and 2013, after the euro was launched. At the time of their accession, they did not meet the necessary criteria for entry to the euro area, but have committed to joining as and when those criteria are fulfilled.

Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City have adopted the euro as their national currency by virtue of specific monetary agreements with the EU, and may issue their own euro coins (within certain limits). However, as they are not EU Member States, they are not part of the euro area.

Euro area Member States

Austria · Belgium · Cyprus · Estonia · Finland · France · Germany · Greece · Ireland · Italy · Latvia · Lithuania · Luxembourg · Malta · Netherlands · Portugal · Slovakia · Slovenia · Spain   

Non-euro area Member States

Bulgaria · Croatia · Czech Republic · Hungary · Poland · Romania · Sweden

Member States with an opt-out clause

Denmark · United Kingdom

See also: Annual Growth Survey; Broad Economic Policy Guidelines; Country-specific recommendations; European economic governance; European Globalisation adjustment Fund; Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure; Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance

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