Greece joined the European Union in 1981, and adopted the euro in 2001 in time to be among the first wave of countries to launch euro banknotes and coins on 1 January 2002.
Last update: 4 may 2009
Surface area: 131 960 km2
Population: 11 262 539 (Eurostat 2009)
Joined the European Union: 1 January 1981
Currency: Euro since 1 January 2001 (formerly Greek drachma, GRD)
Status: Euro-area member since 1 January 2001
Fixed conversion rate: €1 = 340.750 GRD
Adoption of the euro: The euro banknotes and coins were introduced in Greece on 1 January 2002, after a transitional period of one year when the euro was the official currency but only existed as 'book money'. The dual circulation period – when both the Greek drachma and the euro had legal tender status – ended on 28 February 2002.
Exchange of former national currency: The Τράπεζα της Ελλάδος (National Central Bank of Greece) exchanged drachma coins until 1 March 2004 and will continue to exchange drachma banknotes until 1 March 2012.