Parliament commemorated the 20th anniversary of the circulation of the first euro notes and coins on Monday, at the opening of the plenary session in Strasbourg.
Opening the ceremony, EP President Roberta Metsola said that the euro has “truly been one of the greatest achievements of the EU, as evidenced by a recent Eurobarometer survey showing that 78% of people say that it is a ‘good thing’”.
“The euro is about European integration, unity, stability, identity, solidarity. It is right in our pockets as a tangible success story”, Ms Metsola added.
ECB President Christine Lagarde said, “The euro has made the lives of Europeans simpler and produced tangible economic benefits. It has allowed trade to flourish, supported the free movement of people, goods and services and allowed citizens to work, study and travel in 19 member states without having to exchange currency. It has united us across borders, languages and cultures. Sharing a currency is more than simply using the same means of payment; it is being part of a common endeavour.”
European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni said, “We are celebrating one of our most successful endeavours. But the economic and monetary union must still be completed by achieving a banking union and a capital markets union, and improving our economic governance. There is scope to also increase the role of the euro.”
Irene Tinagli, the Chair of the EP’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee praised the euro for its stabilising role over the last two decades. “Without the euro, we would have been telling very different stories. The euro was the best investment we could have made to ensure a stable environment. This investment has allowed us to overcome serious difficulties.” Ms Tinagli also said that the euro could have delivered even more on its objectives had economic and monetary union been complete.