What kind of money would you use in Paris to buy a delicious loaf of “pain au chocolat”–a French bread with chocolate inside?

Paris is in France, so you would pay with euros, the basic currency for 16 countries belonging to the European Union.

What is a euro?

Most countries print money that only works within its borders. Euros are different because you can use the same euros within any of the countries that have adopted the currency: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.

Some European Union countries do not use the euro, such as Denmark and the United Kingdom. Sweden and the other newest EU members have yet to meet the conditions for adopting the currency, but once they do they will also change to the euro

Would you like to see what the euro currency looks like? Be sure to get permission, and click on the links to see pictures of the euro coins and notes.

The 16 countries decided on a single currency to help unite Europe politically and economically.

The euro has other advantages. People who travel among the participating countries do not need to exchange their money. That saves travelers money since most places that exchange currency charge a conversion fee for their services.

Copyright 2009 CUNA Inc. (revised)

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