Cyprus and Malta will both adopt the Euro on Jan. 1, 2008. When that happens, a total of 15 European Union (EU) countries will share the same currency.
Switching a country and its population over to an entirely new currency is no small task, but everything appears to be going well based on an European Commission release:
The final practical preparations are well under way and banks, retailers and consumers seem to be ready for the changeover. Banks and enterprises have been receiving supplies of euro banknotes and coins to be able to handle transactions in euro as from 1 January. Euro coin mini-kits have also been available for citizens since early December, to help them familiarize themselves with their new currency before €-day.
With Cyprus and Malta added to the "euro zone", the total population using the currency will extend to 320 million people. The 13 European Union countries already on the euro are: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland.
Why make the change? According to the EU Economic and Financial Affairs, some of the benefits of the euro include:
- More choice and stable prices for consumers and citizens
- Greater security and more opportunities for businesses and markets
- Improved economic stability and growth
- More integrated financial markets
- A stronger presence for the EU in the global economy
- A tangible sign of a European identity
More information about the Cyprus experiences in moving to the Euro can be read right here through the embedded news content from Newstex: