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The Euro

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ABOVE:  Euro banknotes.

Q. What is the euro?

It's a common currency that has replaced 16 national currencies in Western Europe--among them, the French franc, the German Mark, the Dutch guilder, and the Italian lira.

The euro is divided into 100 cents. Prices and other amounts are typically quoted with the symbol € or the abbreviation EUR.

Q. Which countries are participating?

Initially, 11 countries replaced their currencies with the euro. The euro's founding member states included:

Austria Italy
Belgium Luxembourg
Finland Netherlands
France Portugal
Germany Spain
Ireland  

Since the new currency's introduction, more countries have joined the euro zone:

Cyprus Slovakia
Malta Slovenia
Greece  

As you can see from the lists, many European nations have chosen not to support the euro: among them, Britain, Switzerland, and all but one of the Scandinavian countries. Others haven't met the economic requirements for participation in the common currency.

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