Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!
The Euro is the new currency in Europe. After January 1st, 2002 Euro bills and coins will be available and a few months later you will have to pay in Euro in the participating countries. The currently participating countries are: GerMany, FrancE, ItalY, SpaiN, NetherLands, BelGium, AustriA, FinLand, PortuGal, IreLand, LuxemBurg. The exchange rates of the currencies of the participating countries in relation to the Euro were fixed on Januar 1st, 1999 using the value of the ECU (European Currency Unit) at that time. This means that from that date the Euro is the currency that takes part in the world economy, with a changing exchange rate (actually its value decreased steadily since January 1st, 1999). The exchange rates of the currencies of the participating countries are then simply calculated using the fixed value that was determined on January 1st, 1999 and the exchange rate of the Euro. (I hope you understand anything of the above, I am still working to improve my English.. ;))