Euro marks ten year birthdayPound and euro near parity as euro turns ten

03 January 2009

As the euro celebrates its tenth birthday, speculation continues about whether the pound and the euro will finally reach parity.

Calculator and euros on map

Being flexible with dates and routes can save money

When the euro was first launched ten years ago it was worth around 71p. Today one euro will buy you 98p sterling, with many analysts expecting it to break the £1 barrier early this year.

Whilst potentially good news for exporters of goods from the UK, it's bad news if you're planning a new year getaway to the continent.

For tips on getting the most for your money when buying currency, see the Which? guide to cutting the cost of your holiday. 

History of the euro

The euro was formally launched on 1 January 1999 for non-cash transactions such as cheques and bank transfers. Euro coins and notes entered circulation on 1 January 2002.

The euro was adopted by 11 European countries in 1999 (Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland). Greece joined on 1 January 2001, followed by Slovenia six years later and Cyprus and Malta in January 2008. Slovakia will become the 16th member when it joins the euro today.