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What is the euro area?

The euro area consists of all the countries of the European Union that have adopted the euro as their single currency.

Since 1 January 2015, 19 European countries have belonged to the euro area:

Germany
Austria
Belgium
Cyprus
Spain
Estonia
Finland
France
Greece
Ireland
Italy
flag_let Latvia
flag_litu_20 Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Portugal
Slovakia
Slovenia

In order to be able to join the euro area, certain economic criteria (also called convergence criteria) must be complied with, such as a high level of price stability, a balanced situation of public finances, stable exchange rates as well as long-term converging interest rates.

Nine countries of the European Union, which currently consists of 28 countries, have not adopted the euro yet, namely: Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, The United Kingdom, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the Czech Republic. While Denmark and the UK have a special status which allows them to keep their national currency, for all other countries, the euro is part of the EU acquis. Therefore, as soon as they have fulfilled the convergence criteria, they will adopt the euro.