Six months have passed since Europe's currency changed
completely. It appears most European Union (EU) residents would say
the changeover was a success.
Euro cash transactions began Jan. 1 in 12 European countries
(Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland,
Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain). At that
point, the only new thing about the euro was the currency
itself—many European companies that belong to the Economic
and Monetary Union had been making electronic transactions and
writing checks in euros since Jan. 1, 1999.
"Our price list, invoices and internal accounting systems
already were in euros since the beginning of 2001," states Pierre
Blondeau, sales and marketing director of Carrieres des Lacs Group,
St. Thibault des Vignes, France.
The overall currency changeover went better than expected. A few
weeks before Jan. 1, military troops helped move 50 billion euro
coins and 14.5 billion bank notes across the 12 participating
countries. (For more information about criteria for country
participation, see "The euro: A step toward European unity," May
1999 issue, page 18.) And for the new currency to begin circulating
on time, pay telephones, ticket machines, parking meters, motorway
toll booths and automatic-teller machines were converted to the new
currency during the early...
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