Eurozone

The term Eurozone denotes the region made up of countries which use the euro as their national currency. The financial policy of the entire Eurozone is governed by the European Central Bank (ECB), the central bank which issues and maintains the euro currency.

With some exceptions (including the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden), countries which are members of the European Union are required to adopt the euro and to become part of the Eurozone once they have met fiscal requirements. Representatives of Eurozone countries participate in the governance of the ECB. A number of European countries which are not members of the European Union use the euro as their national currency on account of existing agreements with neighboring countries.

As of 2018, countries in the Eurozone include Andorra (not a European Union member), Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco (not a European Union member), the Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino (not a European Union member), Slovenia, Spain, Vatican City (not a European Union member).

In a broader sense, the term Eurozone can also be used to describe the entire area in which the euro is used as the primary currency, including countries which do not officially make up the Eurozone or participate in the ECB.

The Single European Payments Area (SEPA) is comprise primarily of countries within the Eurozone, but also includes European Union member countries which do not (or do not yet) use the euro, plus Switzerland and Norway. Bank wire transfers between banks within the SEPA can be performed at much lower costs than regular wire transfers.

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