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Imperfect 10: The euro was introduced a decade ago today

It came in with a bang – will it end with a whimper?

TEN YEARS AGO today, we got a shiny new currency. While we could continue to proffer punts until 9 February 2002, from 1 January that year the ATMs and bank tellers would only dispense euro.

A decade on… there are growing fears for the stability of the currency. Even as 25 of the EU countries (not just those in the eurozone) are preparing to sign up to a new fiscal agreement this coming year, the euro recorded a record low against the yen and was almost at its weakest in an entire year against the dollar. (Scary graph is courtesy of the European Central Bank):

The Wall Street Journal, however, had reassuring words from some markets analysts who said on Friday that the drop was still “modest” considering the bad rap the euro is getting at the moment. And German chancellor Angela Merkel vowed in her New Year’s address to save the euro if she possibly could (although she also warned the EU nations would have to work better together than they have been doing up until now).

It all seemed so much more hopeful 10 years ago though. We even had a Eurovision singer (Rosa for Spain) singing an ode to the euro in her entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. Called ‘Europe is living a celebration’, the song came seventh.

(via eurovisionairtv/Youtube.com)

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Just for the sake of nostalgia…

Imperfect 10: The euro was introduced a decade ago today
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  • Euro changeover 1 January 2002

    Then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD made his first purchase in euro at O'Neill's newsagents of Drumcondra.
  • Euro changeover 1 January 2002

    Charles Fitzgerald's pub in Dublin with its Euro Bureau, getting ready for the changeover in 2002
  • Euro changeover 1 January 2002

    Queues form at the Central Bank on 1 January as people go to exchange their punts for euro.
  • Euro changeover 1 January 2002

    A euro transaction for food at Café Arnotts restaurant in Dublin on 2 January 2002.
  • Euro changeover 1 January 2002

    Peter Geoghegan from Harold's Cross, Dublin reads information on the euro.
  • Euro changeover 1 January 2002

    Some forged euro notes and coins that gardai found in shops and pubs around Ireland, pictured on 14 January 2002.
  • The euro's performance in 2011

    Graph from the European Central Bank.

All photographs from Photocall Ireland

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