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Greece and the euro

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

Greece at a glance

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)

Euro information

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.

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