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Document 31998R0974

Euro adoption

Euro adoption



Regulation (EC) No 974/98 — on the introduction of the euro

Article 140 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)


  • The regulation defines the legal monetary requirements that European Union countries having adopted the euro must apply. It sets out the different stages leading to the introduction of the euro.
  • Article 140 TFEU sets out the criteria for economic and monetary union membership and adoption of the euro. It provides for regular monitoring of the progress that non-euro countries make towards meeting those requirements.


  • The regulation on adopting the euro:
    • contains details of the dates for the single currency in each country of euro adoption, for the cash changeover and for the phasing out of the national currency;
    • confirms that the single currency is the euro, which is divided into 100 cents and replaces participating countries’ national currency at the agreed conversion rate;
    • gives the European Central Bank and the national central banks of euro-participating countries exclusive power to put euro banknotes into circulation;
    • allows national banknotes and coins to remain legal tender as from the day before the euro adoption date;
    • sets out the terms of any phasing-out period for national currencies, an option no euro member took advantage of;
    • states that national banknotes and coins remain legal tender in their respective countries until 6 months after the respective cash changeover dates;
    • notes that euro banknotes and coins are the only legal tender in euro area countries after the respective changeover dates;
    • authorises euro countries to apply adequate sanctions against any counterfeiting or falsification of banknotes and coins.
  • To adopt the euro, countries must meet the following 4 economic and financial conditions, known as the convergence criteria, set out in Article 140 TFEU and in Protocol No 13 of the TFEU:
    • price stability: have an inflation rate for 1 year no higher than 1.5% of the 3 lowest national euro area rates;
    • government finances: ensure these are sound and sustainable by limiting national deficit and debt to no more than 3% and 60%, respectively, of national gross domestic product;
    • exchange rate stability: avoid excessive currency fluctuations for at least 2 years by participating in the Exchange Rate Mechanism, which regulates rates between euro and non-euro members;
    • interest rate convergence: have a long-term interest rate that does not exceed by 2 percentage points the rate of the 3 best-performing euro countries.
  • The European Commission helped prepare for the arrival of the euro with a wide-ranging information campaign. This targeted:
    • businesses that would be using the euro for transactions from 1 January 2002;
    • the general public, which would need to adapt to the new coins and notes and the prices and values they express;
    • special needs groups such as those socially or economically isolated, with physical disabilities or unable to read or write;
    • school children who would grow up with the new currency and could help make their parents and elders familiar with it.


It has applied since 1 January 1999.


2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the euro. On 1 January 1999, 11 EU countries fixed their exchange rates, adopted a shared monetary policy, and launched the euro as a new common currency on world financial markets. Today, the euro is the currency of 19 EU countries.

For more information, see:


Council Regulation (EC) No 974/98 of 3 May 1998 on the introduction of the euro (OJ L 139, 11.5.1998, pp. 1-5)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 974/98 have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Three — Union policies and internal actions — Title VIII — Economic and monetary policy — Chapter 5 — Transitional provisions — Article 140 (ex Articles 121(1), 122(2), second sentence, and 123(5) TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 108-110)


Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Protocol (No 13) on the convergence criteria (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 281-282)

last update 14.02.2019