The Euro is the 2nd most popular reserve currency in the world, behind only the US Dollar; and it is also the 2nd most commonly traded currency in the world. In March of 2013, with nearly €920 Billion in circulation, the EUR became the most circulated currency in the world.
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The Euro is the official currency of the Eurozone, which consists of 17 of the 28 member states of the European Union. An additional five European countries employ the Euro, and 175 Million people use currencies pegged to the Euro for a total of over 500,000,000 using Euros or Euro-pegged currencies.
The Euro came into existence on January 1, 1999 as an accounting currency; and entered circulation on January 1, 2002. Since then, it has experienced quite the ride facing a low of .8252 against the US Dollar and a high of 1.6038.
The 2009 European Debt Crisis has brought considerable volatility to currency markets, especially the Euro. Continuing economic concerns in Eurozone nations such as Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, and Ireland make for a very opaque picture of future prospects in the Super-National economy. The European Central Bank is tasked with the prospect of managing monetary policy for the 17 member states, which can often present conflicting economic data points.
The large roles of Germany, France, Italy, and Spain mean that these economies can carry a heightened importance in the trading activity of the currency.