Congratulations to the euro! – Night

The President of the European Central Bank, in an exclusive event in Portugal for SÁBADO, recalls the historic date – and defends the role of the single currency

January 1st has always been special for me. It’s obviously the start of a new year, as it is for everyone, but also my birthday. And on January 1, 2002, there was another reason to celebrate: it was the day the euro area – then made up of 12 countries – introduced the notes and coins of its single currency.

I spent that day with family and friends at our house in Normandy, France, and just before midnight we went to the nearest ATM, eager to get our first euro banknotes. Some of my friends thought that switching to the new currency would overload ATMs and that euro banknotes would not be available. We made a bet: if the ATM gave us French francs instead of euros, my friends could keep the money.

After midnight, we went to withdraw money from the ATM, which distributed “brand new” euro banknotes and we all toasted the new European currency.

Source: SÁBADO by

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