The euro is the official currency of the euro area which consists of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union. The euro area (sometimes called as “euroland” or “eurozone”) is the group of countries which have adopted the euro as their single currency.
The euro is the official currency in such countries as France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia. The euro is also officially used by the European Union institutions and four other European countries. Also outside of Europe some overseas territories which are owned by European Union members the euro is used as their currency.
A symbol of euro – € – comes from Greek epsilon – Є – as a reference to the cradle of European civilization – Ancient Greece, as well as the first letter of the word “Europe”. Two parallel lines which are crossing the letter symbolize stability of the euro. The ISO code for the euro is EUR which is used when the euro symbol is not used.
The European Commission created the euro symbol, basing on three criteria. The euro symbol had to be a highly recognizable symbol of Europe, it had to be aesthetic and easy to write by hand, as well as its appearance had to be associated with existing and well-known currency symbols. As the euro symbol was created by the European Commission, the copyright for it belongs to them, but they are opposed to the registration of the symbol as a part of a trademark, because it could restrict the appropriate use of the euro symbol. Nowadays the euro symbol has become a unique and memorable symbol of the currency.
There are a couple of rules regarding the usage of term “euro”. The name of euro must be the same in all official languages of the European Union, taking into account different alphabets. In all European Union languages and legal texts the nominative singular spelling must be “euro”, but plural forms and declensions are accepted, if they do not change the “eur-” root. In documents which are not European Union legal texts other spellings are accepted in accordance with grammatical rules in each language. This rule ensures consistency and prevents confusion in the market.
It is interesting that on many computers the euro symbol can be obtained with pressing buttons “Ctrl” + “Alt” + “e”. It is useful when you do not have the euro symbol on your keyboard.