EU council president Charles Michel has greeted the 20th anniversary of the euro, saying it has been a “concrete symbol of success.”.
The former Belgian PM said, “20 years already. In many ways, it feels like yesterday. I can remember the excitement of discovering the euro – the banknotes, the coins – for the first time.
The euro is our money, our European currency, and it is a concrete symbol of success that our citizens carry, every day, in 19 out of 27 member states, and in the pockets of nearly 350 million citizens.
That’s quite a journey – the euro has come a long way. It’s a true European achievement. I would even say the euro has become part of who we are and how we see ourselves as Europeans. Part of our mind-set. Part of our European spirit. The euro belongs to all of us, all European citizens.
But it isn’t just a success within our EU borders. It has also anchored itself on the international stage. And despite the crises, the euro has proven to be resilient – a symbol of European unity and stability, and never has that been truer than during COVID-19. The euro has served as a bedrock of stability. A stable asset for the Union. The euro also fuels our recovery, unlocking the full potential of sustainable development, quality jobs, and innovation.
A trusted, dynamic and solid currency – an attractive euro will boost our strategic autonomy and help achieve our bold ambitions. A strong international euro gives us more latitude in our geopolitical decision-making, and it also offers greater access to international financial markets.
Strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union will make the euro an even more attractive international currency. The euro is also crucial to drive forward our green and digital transitions. The euro is a leading currency for investments in climate-friendly projects – today roughly half of global green bonds are issued in euro.
And our joint efforts help fund the massive investments needed to modernise our economies for the 21st century. The euro is also pivotal for our digital transformation. A digital euro could spur greater opportunity for research and innovation. And one thing is clear: massive investments are needed to make a success of our green and digital transitions. That’s why completing the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union is so vital.
The euro is the monetary expression of our shared European destiny. And today we have a clear compass: protecting our planet and generating prosperity through our climate and digital innovation. We have the talent, we have the skills, and the passion to make it happen. So we need the resources and determination to back up these ambitions and make them a reality.
If we want to promote our European values, if we want to lead on the big issues of the 21st century, we need a global currency that matches our global ambitions. Let’s make today – this anniversary – a day that reinvigorates our commitment to collective European action, to strengthen our Economic and Monetary Union and to go forward with confidence.