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More than 300 million people in 12 countries are part of the largest monetary changeover in history, a move that is central to the European Union’s achievement of a Europe in which people, services, capital and goods move freely.
The Euro, which will rapidly replace the 12 national currencies involved, is seen as adding a range of cost benefits for businesses investing in Euro regions such as Flanders, already perceived as an attractive location for foreign companies. It also means that travelers between the 12 nations will no longer have to exchange one national currency for another, for example.
The introduction of the notes and coins follows the launch of the third stage of European Monetary Union three years ago, on January 1 1999, when the exchange rates of the participating currencies were irrevocably set, with the Euro later becoming a virtual currency.