On New Year’s Day, Slovakia becomes the 16th European Union member state to adopt the euro. Jan. 1, 2009, also marks 10 years since the euro was introduced. A timeline:
June, 1 1998: The European Central Bank begins operations, ahead of euro introduction in 11 countries: Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland.
Jan. 1, 1999: The euro is introduced on financial markets as exchange rates with the 11 national currencies are irrevocably fixed. One euro is worth over $1.17.
Jan. 1, 2002: Euro notes and coins go into circulation in member countries, now 12 with Greece having joined. One euro fetches around 89 US cents.
Jan. 1, 2007: Slovenia adopts the euro.
Jan. 1, 2008: Malta and Cyprus adopt the euro, bringing membership in the monetary union to 15. The euro continues to strengthen, fetching over $1.60 by late April before falling back.
Jan. 1, 2009: Slovakia becomes the 16th country – and the first former Soviet bloc nation – to join the eurozone. The euro trades at around $1.40.