On 1 January 1999 the exchange rates of eleven members of the European Union were locked to each other at irrevocably fixed rates. This was a major step towards the establishment of the European Monetary Union (EMU) and the European Central Bank (ECB). The eleven domestic currencies has been replaced by one single currency, the euro. It circulates in an economic region probably larger than that of any other currency area. 1 January 1999 marks an important transition not only in the history of Europe but in the history of the global monetary system.