Euros and national currency questions

I thought the euro had become nearly universal in Europe, but I came across a big chart of exchange rates with lots of European currencies listed.

Have they all pledged switch to euros by some future date?

Are there any European countries that don’t accept the euro at the retail level, or where you would have trouble trying to use euros? Do countries that still have their own currencies allow employers handle their payrolls in euros?

More generally, do countries that still have their own currencies put up any kind of barriers against the euro?

No. Only those countries in the European Union (a political organisation comprised of several countries in Europe), plus a few others, have pledged to support the euro or to switch at some future date. Even some of the countries within the EU, such as the UK, are not particularly keen on switching any time soon.

Yes. In fact, most countries in Europe do not use the euro.

That would depend on the laws of the particular countries and the inclination of the employers and employees.

Like what?

EU members Britain and Denmark are exempt from having to adopt the Euro, by agreement. They could adopt it if they wished, but that doesn’t look like happening any time soon.

OP seems to be under the impression that there are countries in Europe that use both the Euro and a national currency. This is not the case, as far as I know, in any country - either the country is an EU country that has agreed to use the Euro, or it uses its own national currency.

Note that some conversion tables still present the old currency for historical use, permanently set at the conversion rate to the Euro at the time of adoption. For instance, this one still contains Italian Lira, Belgian Francs, etc:

There is one exception - Montenegro is not in the EU but has adopted the Euro as its currency.

There are several more exceptions: Andorra, San Marino, Kosovo, and the Vatican City are ones that spring to mind. More interestingly, the euro is the official currency for foreign residents and tourists in North Korea.

Sweden held a referendum in 2003 that rejected the adoption of the Euro. However, it seems like we are required by some treaty to join at some point, but we have found some loophole to avoid it. Unfortunately, they can keep throwing referendums at it until people say yes. A yes is mostly irreversible and final, but a no means they will just try again. That’s politics.

And Switzerland, in keeping with their tradition of neutrality, is part of neither the EU nor the Euro.

most countries that were members at the time joined it. Britain and Denmark refused to, Greece wanted to but could not qualify (at that time). The decision was taken (somewhat criticised at the time) to introduce the Euro in one hit rather than bring the coins and notes in gradually. The old ones continued to circulate at fixed rates for a few weeks until they were withdrawn.

Depending on your definition of “Europe”, there are 49 countries in Europe. Of these, only 18 use the euro.

These consist of the 13 “eurozone” countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain) plus Monaco, the Vatican, Andorra, San Marino and Montenegro. Kosovo, a disputed region of Serbia, also uses the euro.

On January 1, 2008, Cyprus and Malta will also adopt the euro. Slovakia, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia all intend to adopt it over the next 2 or 3 years, and other EU countries (Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic etc) will also likely join further into the future.

Just to clarify what others have said, the euro is not an “either/or” currency. If a country uses the euro, that is its currency and (after a brief changeover period) its former currency ceases to be legal tender.

In non-euro countries, you cannot pay in euros, with the exception of a few tourist shops and perhaps border towns near the eurozone. If you tried to pay in a shop in, say, England or Sweden with euros youwould get short shrift, just as if you tried to pay in US dollars or Zambian kwacha.

Also depending on your definition of “country”. Is the Sovereign Knights of Malta a country? How about Sealand?

In Northern Ireland several border towns now class themselves Euro-friendly although the official currency is the British Pound. I believe some shops have dual pricing systems.

Some links:

You’ll find occasional shops in real tourist-traps here that will accept the euro. Some payphones will too (again in places where foreign tourists are likely to go)

As do many shops just over the border into the Republic. I some relatives who live in Co. Derry, with the Donegal border at the bottom of their garden. They cross countries to go and buy a pint of milk, with whichever currency they have to hand. One of the children also went to a Donegal secondary school.