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History of the Euro
The euro was launched on 1 January 1999 as an electronic currency and became legal tender on 1 January 2002, but attempts to create a single currency go back 20 years. This chart shows the value of the euro (before 1999 as a basket of the 11 legacy currencies) against the US dollar.
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ERM crisis
The Exchange Rate Mechanism - established in 1979 - was used to keep the value of European currencies stable. But fears that voters might reject the Maastricht treaty led currency speculators to target the weaker currencies. In September 1992 the UK and other EU countries were forced to devalue. Only the French franc was successfully defended against the speculators.
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