Eurozone Fast Facts

(CNN)Here's a look at the eurozone. Nineteen countries in the European Union use the euro as their currency, and comprise the eurozone.


The countries in the eurozone as of 2020 are: Austria , Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
    January 1, 1999 - The euro is introduced.
      The European Union's Maastricht Treaty "convergence criteria," or requirements for a member country to use the euro as currency:
      - Annual budget deficits must not exceed 3% of gross domestic product.
      - Public debt must be under 60% of gross domestic product.
      - The country must have exchange rate stability.
      - Inflation rates must be within 1.5% of the three EU countries with the lowest rate.
      - Long-term interest rates must be within 2% of the three lowest interest rates in the EU.
      Denmark doesn't use the euro, and is not required to be a part of the eurozone.
      Sweden does not belong to the eurozone but must join in the future, according to the terms of the treaty.
      Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Croatia and Romania belong to the EU, but do not currently meet the criteria for joining the eurozone.


      February 1992 - The Maastricht Treaty (officially - The Treaty on European Union) is signed by the 12 member countries of the European Community. It includes provisions for an Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
      May 1998 - It is confirmed that Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain fulfill the necessary conditions to adopt the euro.
      June 1998 - The European Central Bank is established in Frankfurt, Germany, to manage the new common currency.
      January 1, 1999 - The euro is launched, in non-physical form. It can be traded electronically and used in travelers' checks.
      September 2000 - Denmark rejects the adoption of the euro in a referendum.
      January 2001 - Greece joins the eurozone after initially being rejected.
      January 1, 2002 - Currency notes and coins are introduced in eurozone countries.
      February 2002 - The euro becomes the sole currency of eurozone member countries.
      2007 - Slovenia becomes the first former Communist country to use the euro.
      2008 - Malta and Greek-controlled Cyprus join the eurozone.
      2009 - Slovakia joins the eurozone.
      2011 - Estonia joins the eurozone.
      August 12, 2011 - The European Securities and Markets Authority imposes a ban on short selling stocks in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium in response to extreme stock market volatility.
      September 15, 2011 - The European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank announce a coordinated plan to pump dollars into Europe's financial system in an effort to boost liquidity across the eurozone. The banks will hold three auctions for US dollars, with a three-month maturity, through the end of the year with the goal of providing US dollars to struggling European banks that need the currency to fund loans and