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  The Euro for Consumers Historical Backgroundslide

The Euro: the implications for consumers

Since 1 January 2002 consumers have been using euro notes and coins in 12 member states, following the coming into being of the euro three years earlier.

The introduction of the euro gives consumers many opportunities, including:


Reducing the transaction costs of buying in a member state other than the one the consumer lives in.


Making it easier to compare prices in different countries and identify a good deal.

However, the introduction of notes and coins posed a major challenge for consumers (as well as for firms). For example, consumers have needed to adjust to handling the new currency and thinking in euro prices. Consumers have also needed reassurance that firms would not be able to use the introduction of the new currency as an opportunity to get away with sharp practices.

What has the Commission done to help?

To help consumers rise to the challenge, the Commission has been providing information and training on all the practical aspects of the changeover, and on the understanding of monetary symbols, prices and values. A special effort has been made to reach consumers that might have difficulty in obtaining information from normal channels, through the Euro Made Easy project.

Consumers' interests have also been protected by:


Legislation to ensure continuity of contracts and methods of conversion.


Negotiated agreements covering consumer information on prices and means of conversion.


Continuous monitoring of market developments, particularly concerning price changes and the cost of international monetary transactions.

More information on specific aspects of the introduction of the euro is available below:

Consumer responses to the introduction of the euro
Dual display and stability of prices
2005 Conference about Consumers and the Euro

Further information is available on the Euro Essentials website



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