MONT ALTO, Pa. - In two years, engravings of kings, queens and national heroes will be gone from the currency of 11 European countries, to be replaced by a common currency that a European Union official said will benefit trade and tourism with the United States.
"The Euro is currently an electronic currency," William Burros told a group of students and faculty Tuesday at the Penn State Mont Alto campus. The currency was introduced on Jan. 1 but can only be used for electronic transactions, such as credit card purchases, he said.
That will change in 2002, when France, Germany, Italy and eight other countries begin replacing francs, marks and lire with billions of Euro-based notes and coins. Six months after the introduction, Burros said, Europeans will no longer be able to use their old currencies.
An information officer with the European Commission Delegation Office in Washington, D.C., Burros said Americans traveling in Europe will no longer have to exchange currency each time they cross a border.