The Travel Professor
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Euro hits Europe

On this day in 1999, for the first time since Charlemagne's reign in the ninth century, Europe is united with a common currency when the "euro" debuts as a financial unit in corporate and investment markets. Eleven European Union (EU) nations (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain), representing some 290 million people, launched the currency in the hopes of increasing European integration and economic growth. Closing at a robust 1.17 U.S. dollars on its first day, the euro promised to give the dollar a run for its money in the new global economy.

I was not and still am not a huge fan of this move as it brought parity to the market place. Inexpensive destination like Spain and Italy lost their values as the Euro raised the actual cost of what you where paying locally. The fifty cent glass of wine suddenly became $3.00 one. In some instances prices almost doubled when you compared the old currency to the new Euro.