San Marino the Republic of San Marino known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, is an enclaved microstate surrounded by Italy, situated on the Italian Peninsula on the northeastern side of the Apennine Mountains. Its size is just over 61 km2, with a population of 33,562, its capital is the City of San Marino and its largest settlement is Dogana in the municipality of Serravalle. San Marino has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe. With Italian being the official language, along with strong financial and ethno-cultural connections, San Marino maintains close ties to its much larger neighbour; the country derives its name from Saint Marinus, a stonemason originating from the Roman colony on the island of Rab, in modern-day Croatia. In AD 257, according to legend, participated in the reconstruction of Rimini's city walls after their destruction by Liburnian pirates. Marinus went on to found an independent monastic community on Monte Titano in AD 301. San Marino is governed by the Constitution of San Marino, a series of six books written in Latin in the late 16th century, that dictate the country's political system, among other matters.
The country is considered to have the earliest written governing documents, or constitution, still in effect. The country's economy relies on finance, industry and tourism, it is among one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP, with a figure comparable to the most developed European regions. San Marino is considered to have a stable economy, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, no national debt and a budget surplus, has the world's highest rate of car ownership, being the only country with more vehicles than people. San Marino is one of the only three countries in the world to be surrounded by a single other country, it is the third smallest country in Europe, with only Vatican Monaco being smaller. It is the fifth smallest country in the world. Saint Marinus left the island of Rab in present-day Croatia with his lifelong friend Leo, went to the city of Rimini as a stonemason. After the Diocletianic Persecution following his Christian sermons, he escaped to the nearby Monte Titano, where he built a small church and thus founded what is now the city and state of San Marino, sometimes still called the "Titanic Republic".
The official date of the founding of what is now known as the Republic is 3 September 301. In 1320 the community of Chiesanuova chose to join the country. In 1463 San Marino was extended with the communities of Faetano, Fiorentino and Serravalle, after which the country's border have remained unchanged. In 1631, its independence was recognized by the Papacy; the advance of Napoleon's army in 1797 presented a brief threat to the independence of San Marino, but the country was saved from losing its liberty thanks to one of its Regents, Antonio Onofri, who managed to gain the respect and friendship of Napoleon. Thanks to his intervention, Napoleon, in a letter delivered to Gaspard Monge and commissary of the French Government for Science and Art, promised to guarantee and protect the independence of the Republic offering to extend its territory according to its needs; the offer was declined by the Regents. During the phase of the Italian unification process in the 19th century, San Marino served as a refuge for many people persecuted because of their support for unification.
In recognition of this support, Giuseppe Garibaldi accepted the wish of San Marino not to be incorporated into the new Italian state. The government of San Marino made United States President Abraham Lincoln an honorary citizen, he wrote in reply, saying that the republic proved that "government founded on republican principles is capable of being so administered as to be secure and enduring."During World War I, when Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary on 23 May 1915, San Marino remained neutral and Italy adopted a hostile view of Sammarinese neutrality, suspecting that San Marino could harbour Austrian spies who could be given access to its new radiotelegraph station. Italy tried to forcibly establish a detachment of Carabinieri in the republic and cut the republic's telephone lines when it did not comply. Two groups of ten volunteers joined Italian forces in the fighting on the Italian front, the first as combatants and the second as a medical corps operating a Red Cross field hospital.
The existence of this hospital caused Austria-Hungary to suspend diplomatic relations with San Marino. Following the conclusion of World War I, San Marino suffered from high rates of unemployment and inflation, leading to increased tensions between the lower and middle classes; the latter, fearing that the moderate government of San Marino would make concessions to the lower class majority, began to show support for the Sammarinese Fascist Party, founded in 1922 and styled off their Italian counterpart. PFS rule lasted from 1923 to 1943, during this time, they sought support from Benito Mussolini's fascist government in Italy. During World War II, San Marino remained neutral, although it was wrongly reported in an article from The New York Times that it had declared war on the United Kingdom on 17 September 19
Member state of the European Union
The European Union consists of 28 member states. Each member state is party to the founding treaties of the union and thereby subject to the privileges and obligations of membership. Unlike members of most international organisations, the member states of the EU are subjected to binding laws in exchange for representation within the common legislative and judicial institutions. Member states must agree unanimously for the EU to adopt policies concerning defence and foreign policy. Subsidiarity is a founding principle of the EU. In 1957, six core states founded the European Economic Community; the remaining states have acceded in subsequent enlargements. On 1 July 2013, Croatia became the newest member state of the EU. To accede, a state must fulfill the economic and political requirements known as the Copenhagen criteria, which require a candidate to have a democratic, free-market government together with the corresponding freedoms and institutions, respect for the rule of law. Enlargement of the Union is contingent upon the consent of all existing members and the candidate's adoption of the existing body of EU law, known as the acquis communautaire.
There is disparity in the size and political system of member states, but all have de jure equal rights. In practice, certain states are more influential than others. While in some areas majority voting takes place where larger states have more votes than smaller ones, smaller states have disproportional representation compared to their population. No member state has withdrawn or been suspended from the EU, though some dependent territories or semi-autonomous areas have left. In June 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum on membership of the EU, resulting in 51.89% of votes cast, being in favour of leaving. The United Kingdom government invoked Article 50 on 29 March 2017 to formally initiate the withdrawal process. Notes According to the Copenhagen criteria, membership of the European Union is open to any European country, a stable, free-market liberal democracy that respects the rule of law and human rights. Furthermore, it has to be willing to accept all the obligations of membership, such as adopting all agreed law and switching to the euro.
To join the European Union, it is required for all member states to agree. In addition to enlargement by adding new countries, the EU can expand by having territories of member states, which are outside the EU, integrate more or by a territory of a member state which had seceded and rejoined. Enlargement is, has been, a principal feature of the Union's political landscape; the EU's predecessors were founded by the "Inner Six", those countries willing to forge ahead with the Community while others remained skeptical. It was only a decade before the first countries changed their policy and attempted to join the Union, which led to the first skepticism of enlargement. French President Charles de Gaulle feared British membership would be an American Trojan horse and vetoed its application, it was only after de Gaulle left office and a 12-hour talk by British Prime Minister Edward Heath and French President Georges Pompidou took place that the United Kingdom's third application succeeded in 1970.
Applying in 1969 were the United Kingdom, Ireland and Norway. Norway, declined to accept the invitation to become a member when the electorate voted against it, leaving just the UK, Denmark to join, but despite the setbacks, the withdrawal of Greenland from Denmark's membership in 1985, three more countries joined the Communities before the end of the Cold War. In 1987, the geographical extent of the project was tested when Morocco applied, was rejected as it was not considered a European country; the year 1990 saw the Cold War drawing to a close, East Germany was welcomed into the Community as part of a reunited Germany. Shortly thereafter, the neutral countries of Austria and Sweden acceded to the newly renamed European Union, though Switzerland, which applied in 1992, froze its application due to opposition from voters while Norway, which had applied once more, had its voters reject membership again in 1994. Meanwhile, the members of the former Eastern Bloc and Yugoslavia were all starting to move towards EU membership.
Eight of these, plus Cyprus and Malta, joined in a major enlargement on 1 May 2004 symbolising the unification of Eastern and Western Europe in the EU. They were followed by Bulgaria and Romania in 2007 and Croatia in 2013; the EU has prioritised membership for the rest of the Western Balkans. Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey are all formally acknowledged as candidates, while Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are potential candidates. Turkish membership, pending since the 1980s, is a more contentious issue. Aside from the Cyprus dispute being a long-standing hurdle, relations between the EU and Turkey have become strained after several incidents concerning the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt, the Turkish referendum, the resulting 2016–17 purges in Turkey; this has led to the European Parliament calling for a suspension of membership talks. Each state has representation in the institutions of the European Union. Full membership gives the government of a member state a seat in the Council of the European Union and European Council.
When decisions are not being taken by consensus, votes are weighted so that a country with a greater population has more votes within the Coun
President of the European Central Bank
The President of the European Central Bank is the head of the European Central Bank, the institution responsible for the management of the euro and monetary policy in the Eurozone of the European Union. The President heads the executive board, governing council and general council of the ECB, he represents the bank abroad, for example at the G20. The President is appointed by a qualified majority vote of the European Council, de facto by those who have adopted the euro, for an eight-year non-renewable term; however the first President, did not serve his full term Wim Duisenberg was the President of the European Monetary Institute when it became the ECB, just prior to the launch of the euro, on 1 June 1998. Duisenberg became the first President of the ECB; the French interpretation of the agreement made with the installation of Wim Duisenberg as ECB President was that Duisenberg would resign after just four years of his eight-year term, would be replaced by the Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet. Duisenberg always denied that such an agreement was made and stated in February 2002 that he would stay in office until his 68th birthday on 9 July 2003.
In the meanwhile Jean-Claude Trichet was not cleared of legal accusations before 1 June 2002, so he was not able to begin his term after Duisenberg's first four years. On 9 July 2003 Trichet was not cleared, therefore Duisenberg remained in office until 1 November 2003. Duisenberg died on 31 July 2005. Jean-Claude Trichet served during the European sovereign debt crisis. Trichet's strengths lay in keeping consensus and visible calm in the ECB. During his tenure, Trichet has had to fend off criticism from French President Nicolas Sarkozy who demanded a more growth-orientated policy at the ECB. Germany supported Trichet in demanding the bank's independence be respected. However, he was criticised from straying from his mandate during the crisis by buying the government bonds of eurozone member states. ECB board members Axel A. Weber and Jürgen Stark resigned in protest at this policy if it helped prevent states from defaulting. IMF economist Pau Rabanal argued that Trichet "maintained a expansionary monetary policy," but "sacrificed the ECB's inflation target for the sake of greater economic growth and jobs creation, not the other way round."
While straying from his mandate, he has however still kept interest rates under control and maintained greater price stability than the Deutsche Bundesbank did before the euro. As well as defending the ECB's independence and balancing its commitment to interest rates and economic stability, Trichet fought Sarkozy for automatic sanctions in the EU fiscal reforms and against Angela Merkel against private sector involvement in bail outs so as not to scare the markets, he had however made some mistakes during the crisis, for example by: raising interest rates just after inflation topped out and just prior to the recession triggered by the Lehman Brothers collapse. In his final appearance before the European Parliament, Trichet called for more political unity, including, he asserted that the ECB's role in maintaining price stability throughout the financial crisis and the oil price rises should not be overlooked. He stated, in response to a question from a German newspaper attacking the ECB's credibility following its bond-buying.
Mario Draghi was chosen to become the next President of the ECB on 24 June 2011. He is President since 1 November 2011. Pascal Canfin, Member of the European Parliament, asserted that Draghi had been involved in swaps for European governments, namely Greece, trying to disguise their countries' economic status. Draghi responded that the deals were "undertaken before my joining Goldman Sachs I had nothing to do with" them, in the 2011 European Parliament nomination hearings. List of presidents since the establishment of the bank on 1 June 1998. Vice President Christian Noyer was only appointed for four years so that his resignation would coincide with the expected resignation of Duisenberg, his successors, starting with Lucas Papademos, are granted eight-year terms. Organisation of the ECB President's CV EU Treaties.
The European Commission is an institution of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU. Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg City, pledging to respect the treaties and to be independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate. Unlike in the Council of the European Union, where members are directly and indirectly elected, the European Parliament, where members are directly elected, the Commissioners are proposed by the Council of the European Union, on the basis of suggestions made by the national governments, appointed by the European Council after the approval of the European Parliament; the Commission operates with 28 members of the Commission. There is one member per member state, but members are bound by their oath of office to represent the general interest of the EU as a whole rather than their home state. One of the 28 is the Commission President proposed by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament.
The Council of the European Union nominates the other 27 members of the Commission in agreement with the nominated President, the 28 members as a single body are subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. The current Commission is the Juncker Commission, which took office in late 2014, following the European Parliament elections in May of the same year; the term Commission is variously used, either in the narrow sense of the 28-member College of Commissioners or to include the administrative body of about 32,000 European civil servants who are split into departments called directorates-general and services. The procedural languages of the Commission are English and German; the Members of the Commission and their "cabinets" are based in the Berlaymont building in Brussels. The European Commission derives from one of the five key institutions created in the supranational European Community system, following the proposal of Robert Schuman, French Foreign Minister, on 9 May 1950.
Originating in 1951 as the High Authority in the European Coal and Steel Community, the Commission has undergone numerous changes in power and composition under various presidents, involving three Communities. The first Commission originated in 1951 as the nine-member "High Authority" under President Jean Monnet; the High Authority was the supranational administrative executive of the new European Coal and Steel Community. It took office first on 10 August 1952 in Luxembourg City. In 1958, the Treaties of Rome had established two new communities alongside the ECSC: the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community; however their executives were called "Commissions" rather than "High Authorities". The reason for the change in name was the new relationship between the Council; some states, such as France, expressed reservations over the power of the High Authority, wished to limit it by giving more power to the Council rather than the new executives. Louis Armand led the first Commission of Euratom.
Walter Hallstein led the first Commission of the EEC, holding the first formal meeting on 16 January 1958 at the Château of Val-Duchesse. It achieved agreement on a contentious cereal price accord, as well as making a positive impression upon third countries when it made its international debut at the Kennedy Round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade negotiations. Hallstein notably began the consolidation of European law and started to have a notable impact on national legislation. Little heed was taken of his administration at first but, with help from the European Court of Justice, his Commission stamped its authority solidly enough to allow future Commissions to be taken more seriously. In 1965, accumulating differences between the French government of Charles de Gaulle and the other member states on various subjects triggered the "empty chair" crisis, ostensibly over proposals for the Common Agricultural Policy. Although the institutional crisis was solved the following year, it cost Etienne Hirsch his presidency of Euratom and Walter Hallstein the EEC presidency, despite his otherwise being viewed as the most'dynamic' leader until Jacques Delors.
The three bodies, collectively named the European Executives, co-existed until 1 July 1967 when, under the Merger Treaty, they were combined into a single administration under President Jean Rey. Owing to the merger, the Rey Commission saw a temporary increase to 14 members—although subsequent Commissions were reduced back to nine, following the formula of one member for small states and two for larger states; the Rey Commission completed the Community's customs union in 1968, campaigned for a more powerful, European Parliament. Despite Rey being the first President of the combined communities, Hallstein is seen as the first President of the modern Commission; the Malfatti and Mansholt Commissions followed with work on monetary co-operation and the first enlargement to the north in 1973. With that enlargement, the Commission's membership increased to thirteen under the Ortoli Commission, which dealt with the enlarged community during economic and international instability at that time; the external representation of the Community took a step forward when President Roy Jenkins, recruited to the presidency in January 1977 from his role as Home Secretary of the United Kingdom's Labour government, became the first President to att
A mint is an industrial facility which manufactures coins that can be used in currency. The history of mints correlates with the history of coins. In the beginning, hammered coinage or cast coinage were the chief means of coin minting, with resulting production runs numbering as little as the hundreds or thousands. In modern mints, coin dies are manufactured in large numbers and planchets are made into milled coins by the billions. With the mass production of currency, the production cost is weighed. For example, it costs the United States Mint much less than 25 cents to make a quarter, the difference in production cost and face value helps fund the minting body; the earliest metallic money did not consist of coins, but of unminted metal in the form of rings and other ornaments or of weapons, which were used for thousands of years by the Egyptian and Assyrian empires. Metals were well suited to represent wealth, owing to their great commodity value per unit weight or volume, their durability and rarity.
The best metals for coinage are gold, platinum, tin, aluminum, zinc and their alloys. The first mint was established in Lydia in the 7th century BC, for coining gold and electrum; the Lydian innovation of manufacturing coins under the authority of the state spread to neighboring Greece, where a number of city-states operated their own mints. Some of the earliest Greek mints were within city-states on Greek islands such as Crete. At about the same time and mints appeared independently in China and spread to Korea and Japan; the manufacture of coins in the Roman Empire, dating from about the 4th century BC influenced development of coin minting in Europe. The origin of the word "mint" is ascribed to the manufacture of silver coin at Rome in 269 BC at the temple of Juno Moneta; this goddess became the personification of money, her name was applied both to money and to its place of manufacture. Roman mints were spread across the Empire, were sometimes used for propaganda purposes; the populace learned of a new Roman Emperor when coins appeared with the new Emperor's portrait.
Some of the emperors who ruled only for a short time made sure. Ancient coins were made by striking between engraved dies; the Romans cast their larger copper coins in clay moulds carrying distinctive markings, not because they knew nothing of striking, but because it was not suitable for such large masses of metal. Casting is now used only by counterfeiters; the most ancient coins were cast in bulletshaped or conical moulds and marked on one side by means of a die, struck with a hammer. The "blank" or unmarked piece of metal was placed on a small anvil, the die was held in position with tongs; the reverse or lower side of the coin received a “rough incuse” by the hammer. A rectangular mark, a “square incuse,” was made by the sharp edges of the little anvil, or punch; the rich iconography of the obverse of the early electrum coins contrasts with the dull appearance of their reverse which carries only punch marks. The shape and number of these punches varied according to their weight-standard. Subsequently, the anvil was marked in various ways, decorated with letters and figures of beasts, still the anvil was replaced by a reverse die.
The spherical blanks soon gave place to lenticular-shaped ones. The blank was struck between cold dies. One blow was insufficient, the method was similar to that still used in striking medals in high relief, except that the blank is now allowed to cool before being struck. With the substitution of iron for bronze as the material for dies, about 300 AD, the practice of striking the blanks while they were hot was discarded. In the Middle Ages bars of metal were hammered out on an anvil. Portions of the flattened sheets were cut out with shears, struck between dies and again trimmed with shears. A similar method had been used in Ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic Kingdom, but had been forgotten. Square pieces of metal were cut from cast bars, converted into round disks by hammering and struck between dies. In striking, the lower die was fixed into a block of wood, the blank piece of metal laid upon it by hand; the upper die was placed on the blank, kept in position by means of a holder round, placed a roll of lead to protect the hand of the operator while heavy blows were struck with a hammer.
An early improvement was the introduction of a tool resembling a pair of tongs, the two dies being placed one at the extremity of each leg. This avoided the necessity of readjusting the dies between blows, ensured greater accuracy in the impression. Minting by means of a falling weight intervened between the hand hammers and the screw press in many places. In Birmingham in particular this system became developed and was long in use. In 1553, the French engineer Aubin Olivier introduced screw presses for striking coins, together with rolls for reducing the cast bars and machines for punching-out round disks from flattened sheets of metal. 8 to 12 men took over from each other every quarter of an hour to maneuver the arms driving the screw which struck the medals. The rolls were driven by horses, mules or water-power. Henry II came up against hostility on the par
Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Spanning 93,030 square kilometres in the Carpathian Basin, it borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, Slovenia to the west. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union; the official language is Hungarian, the most spoken Uralic language in the world, among the few non-Indo-European languages to be spoken in Europe. Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest; the territory of modern Hungary was for centuries inhabited by a succession of peoples, including Celts, Germanic tribes, West Slavs and the Avars. The foundations of the Hungarian state were established in the late ninth century CE by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád following the conquest of the Carpathian Basin, his great-grandson Stephen I ascended the throne in 1000, converting his realm to a Christian kingdom. By the 12th century, Hungary became a regional power, reaching its cultural and political height in the 15th century.
Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, Hungary was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. It came under Habsburg rule at the turn of the 18th century, joined Austria to form the Austro–Hungarian Empire, a major European power; the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed after World War I, the subsequent Treaty of Trianon established Hungary's current borders, resulting in the loss of 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, 32% of ethnic Hungarians. Following the tumultuous interwar period, Hungary joined the Axis Powers in World War II, suffering significant damage and casualties. Hungary became a satellite state of the Soviet Union, which contributed to the establishment of a socialist republic spanning four decades; the country gained widespread international attention as a result of its 1956 revolution and the seminal opening of its previously-restricted border with Austria in 1989, which accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. On 23 October 1989, Hungary became a democratic parliamentary republic.
Hungary is an OECD high-income economy and has the world's 58th largest economy by PPP. It ranks 45th on the Human Development Index, owing in large part to its social security system, universal health care, tuition-free secondary education. Hungary's rich cultural history includes significant contributions to the arts, literature, sports and technology, it is the 13th most popular tourist destination in Europe, attracting 15.8 million international tourists in 2017, owing to attractions such as the largest thermal water cave system in the world, second largest thermal lake, the largest lake in Central Europe and the largest natural grasslands in Europe. Hungary's cultural and academic prominence classify it as a middle power in global affairs. Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 and has been part of the Schengen Area since 2007, it is a member of numerous international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, WTO, World Bank, the AIIB, the Council of Europe, the Visegrád Group.
The "H" in the name of Hungary is most due to early founded historical associations with the Huns, who had settled Hungary prior to the Avars. The rest of the word comes from the Latinized form of Byzantine Greek Oungroi. According to an explanation,the Greek name was borrowed from Old Bulgarian ągrinŭ, in turn borrowed from Oghur-Turkic Onogur. Onogur was the collective name for the tribes who joined the Bulgar tribal confederacy that ruled the eastern parts of Hungary after the Avars; the Hungarian endonym is Magyarország, composed of ország. The word magyar is taken from the name of one of the seven major semi-nomadic Hungarian tribes, magyeri; the first element magy is from Proto-Ugric *mäńć-'man, person' found in the name of the Mansi people. The second element eri,'man, lineage', survives in Hungarian férj'husband', is cognate with Mari erge'son', Finnish archaic yrkä'young man'; the Roman Empire conquered the territory west of the Danube between 35 and 9 BC. From 9 BC to the end of the 4th century, Pannonia was part of the Roman Empire, located within part of Hungary's territory.
Around AD 41–54, a 500-strong cavalry unit created the settlement of Aquincum and a Roman legion of 6,000 men was stationed here by AD 89. A civil city grew in the neighbourhood of the military settlement and in AD 106 Aquincum became the focal point of the commercial life of this area and the capital city of the province of Pannonia Inferior; this area now corresponds to the Óbuda district of Budapest, with the Roman ruins now forming part of the modern Aquincum museum. Came the Huns, a Central Asian tribe who built a powerful empire. After Hunnish rule, the Germanic Ostrogoths and Gepids, the Avar Khaganate, had a presence in the Carpathian Basin. In the 9th century, East Francia, the First Bulgarian Empire and Great Moravia ruled the territory of the Carpathian Basin; the freshly unified Hungarians led by Árpád, settled in the Carpathian Basin starting in 895. According to linguistic evidence, they originated from an ancient Uralic-speaking population that inhabited the forested area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains.
As a federation of united tribes, Hungary was established in 895, some 50 years after the division of the Carolingian Empire at the Treaty of Verdun in 843, before the unification of the Anglo-Saxon king
The euro is the official currency of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area, counts about 343 million citizens as of 2019; the euro is the second largest and second most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar. The euro is subdivided into 100 cents; the currency is used by the institutions of the European Union, by four European microstates that are not EU members, as well as unilaterally by Montenegro and Kosovo. Outside Europe, a number of special territories of EU members use the euro as their currency. Additionally, 240 million people worldwide as of 2018 use currencies pegged to the euro; the euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar. As of August 2018, with more than €1.2 trillion in circulation, the euro has one of the highest combined values of banknotes and coins in circulation in the world, having surpassed the U.
S. dollar. The name euro was adopted on 16 December 1995 in Madrid; the euro was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting currency on 1 January 1999, replacing the former European Currency Unit at a ratio of 1:1. Physical euro coins and banknotes entered into circulation on 1 January 2002, making it the day-to-day operating currency of its original members, by March 2002 it had replaced the former currencies. While the euro dropped subsequently to US$0.83 within two years, it has traded above the U. S. dollar since the end of 2002, peaking at US$1.60 on 18 July 2008. In late 2009, the euro became immersed in the European sovereign-debt crisis, which led to the creation of the European Financial Stability Facility as well as other reforms aimed at stabilising and strengthening the currency; the euro is managed and administered by the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank and the Eurosystem. As an independent central bank, the ECB has sole authority to set monetary policy; the Eurosystem participates in the printing and distribution of notes and coins in all member states, the operation of the eurozone payment systems.
The 1992 Maastricht Treaty obliges most EU member states to adopt the euro upon meeting certain monetary and budgetary convergence criteria, although not all states have done so. The United Kingdom and Denmark negotiated exemptions, while Sweden turned down the euro in a 2003 referendum, has circumvented the obligation to adopt the euro by not meeting the monetary and budgetary requirements. All nations that have joined the EU since 1993 have pledged to adopt the euro in due course. Since 1 January 2002, the national central banks and the ECB have issued euro banknotes on a joint basis. Euro banknotes do not show. Eurosystem NCBs are required to accept euro banknotes put into circulation by other Eurosystem members and these banknotes are not repatriated; the ECB issues 8% of the total value of banknotes issued by the Eurosystem. In practice, the ECB's banknotes are put into circulation by the NCBs, thereby incurring matching liabilities vis-à-vis the ECB; these liabilities carry interest at the main refinancing rate of the ECB.
The other 92% of euro banknotes are issued by the NCBs in proportion to their respective shares of the ECB capital key, calculated using national share of European Union population and national share of EU GDP weighted. The euro is divided into 100 cents. In Community legislative acts the plural forms of euro and cent are spelled without the s, notwithstanding normal English usage. Otherwise, normal English plurals are sometimes used, with many local variations such as centime in France. All circulating coins have a common side showing the denomination or value, a map in the background. Due to the linguistic plurality in the European Union, the Latin alphabet version of euro is used and Arabic numerals. For the denominations except the 1-, 2- and 5-cent coins, the map only showed the 15 member states which were members when the euro was introduced. Beginning in 2007 or 2008 the old map is being replaced by a map of Europe showing countries outside the Union like Norway, Belarus, Russia or Turkey.
The 1-, 2- and 5-cent coins, keep their old design, showing a geographical map of Europe with the 15 member states of 2002 raised somewhat above the rest of the map. All common sides were designed by Luc Luycx; the coins have a national side showing an image chosen by the country that issued the coin. Euro coins from any member state may be used in any nation that has adopted the euro; the coins are issued in denominations of €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, 1c. To avoid the use of the two smallest coins, some cash transactions are rounded to the nearest five cents in the Netherlands and Ireland and in Finland; this practice is discouraged by the Commission, as is the practice of certain shops of refusing to accept high-value euro notes. Commemorative coins with €2 face value have been issued with changes to the design of the national side of the coin; these include both issued coins, such as the €2 commemorative coin for the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, nationally i