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Highlights on the euro zone | CNN


Here is an overview of the euro zone. Twenty countries of the European Union use the euro as their currency and form the euro zone.

Eurozone countries are: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

January 1, 1999 – The euro is introduced.

The “convergence criteria” of the Maastricht Treaty of the European Union or the requirements for a member country to use the euro as its currency:
– Annual budget deficits must not exceed 3% of gross domestic product.
– Public debt must be less than 60% of gross domestic product.
– The country must have a stable exchange rate.
– Inflation rates must be below 1.5% of the three EU countries with the lowest rate.
– Long-term interest rates must be below 2% of the three lowest interest rates in the EU.

Denmark does not use the euro and is not required to be part of the euro zone.

Sweden does not belong to the euro zone but must join in the future, according to the terms of the treaty.

Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania belong to the EU, but do not currently meet the criteria for joining the euro zone.

Euro area financial indicators

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 – Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain are confirmed as eligible 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 a non-physical form. It can be exchanged electronically and used in travelers cheques.

September 2000 – Denmark rejects the adoption of the euro by referendum.

January 2001 – Greece joins the euro zone after being initially rejected.

January 1, 2002 – Banknotes and coins are introduced in the countries of the euro zone.

February 2002 – The euro becomes the single currency of the member countries of the euro zone.

2007 – Slovenia becomes the first former communist country to use the euro.

2008 – Malta and Cyprus under Greek control join the euro zone.

2009 – Slovakia joins the euro zone.

2011 – Estonia joins the euro zone.

August 12, 2011 – The European Securities and Markets Authority imposes a ban on short selling of shares in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium in response to the extreme volatility of the stock markets.

September 15, 2011 – The European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Bank of England, Bank of Japan and Swiss National Bank announce a coordinated plan to inject dollars into the European financial system to boost liquidity in the eurozone. The banks will hold three auctions for US dollars, with a maturity of three months, until the end of the year with the aim of providing US dollars to struggling European banks that need the currency to finance loans and repay their debt.

November 30, 2011 – The US Federal Reserve and the central banks of the euro zone, England, Japan, Switzerland and Canada announce a coordinated plan to reduce the prices of dollar liquidity swaps starting on December 5 and to extend these swap agreements until February 1, 2013.

December 9, 2011 – A majority of European leaders agree on a new deal to try to solve the continent’s debt crisis, but Britain refuses to back a broader treaty change. The agreement includes: the transfer of the management of the EU rescue funds to the European Central Bank and the addition of 200 billion euros to the resources of the International Monetary Fund.

June 29, 2012 – EU leaders reach agreement to create a single supervisory body to oversee eurozone banks that could use the single currency area’s rescue funds, the European Financial Stability Facility or the European Stability Mechanism, to help banks directly without increasing government debt.

September 12, 2012 – Germany’s Constitutional Court is ruling against a group of conservative politicians who have sought an injunction barring Germany from ratifying the treaty governing the European Stability Mechanism.

November 15, 2012 – The eurozone is officially entering recession. This is the second recession since 2009, making it a double dip.

December 13, 2012 – The EU concludes a banking supervision agreement with the European Central Bank.

1st of January 2014 – Latvia joins the euro zone as the 18th member country.

January 1, 2015 – Lithuania joins the euro zone as the 19th member country.

January 7, 2015 – Eurostat publishes a report showing that for the first time since the 2009 crisis, the euro zone entered deflation in December 2014.

January 22, 2015 – European Central Bank President Mario Draghi announces a new stimulus program involving the purchase of bonds called “quantitative easing”, intended to stimulate the economies of the euro zone.

December 8, 2016 – The European Central Bank said it would continue its asset purchase, or quantitative easing, program until the end of December 2017, “or beyond, if necessary”.

January 17, 2017 – Otmar Issing, the European Central Bank’s first chief economist, writes in an article for CNN that the euro “can hold its own for a while yet. But it cannot survive indefinitely” unless the fundamental issues are addressed, citing unemployment, debt and slow growth.

November 23, 2017 – Bloomberg News reports that the euro zone is on track for its best economic performance since the financial crisis, with the fastest increase in hiring in 17 years.

December 6, 2017 – The European Commission publishes a set of proposals aimed at deepening Europe’s economic and monetary union as a safeguard against future financial crises. “The overall objective is to strengthen the unity, efficiency and democratic accountability of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union by 2025,” the Commission said in a statement.

June 14, 2018 – The European Central Bank announces the end of its bond purchase program at the end of December. At that point, it will have created nearly 2.7 trillion euros ($3.1 trillion) in new money for the program over three years. The end of money printing means the central bank thinks the economy no longer needs emergency support.

October 2022 – Eurozone inflation is at a record high of 10.7%, down from 9.9% in September, as energy and food prices in the region continue to soar.

January 1, 2023 – Croatia joins the euro zone as the 20th member country.

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