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Countries using the euro

The euro is the most tangible proof of European integration: around 341 million people use it every day, making it the second most-used currency worldwide. The benefits of the common currency are immediately obvious to anyone travelling abroad or shopping online on websites based in another EU country.

Member countries using the euro

Currently, the euro (€) is the official currency of 20 out of 27 EU member countries which together constitute the Eurozone, officially called the euro area.

How countries join

In order to join the euro area, EU member states are required to fulfil so-called 'convergence criteria'.

These binding economic and legal conditions were agreed in the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and are also known as 'Maastricht criteria'. All EU Member States, except Denmark, are required to adopt the euro and join the euro area, once they are ready to fulfil them.

The Treaty does not specify a particular timetable for joining the euro area, but leaves it to member states to develop their own strategies for meeting the condition for euro adoption.

The European Commission and the European Central Bank jointly decide whether the conditions are met for euro area candidate countries to adopt the euro. After assessing the progress made against the convergence criteria, the two bodies publish their conclusions in respective reports. These are further ratified by the ECOFIN Council in consultation with the Parliament and Heads of State. If favourable, the adoption process can begin.