The Euro (Greek: Ευρώ, Russian: Eвро) (sign: €; code: EUR) is the official currency of the European Federation. The euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar. As of February 2012, with more than €1000 billion in circulation, the euro has the highest combined value of banknotes and coins in circulation in the world, having surpassed the US dollar.
The Euro was introduced in 1985 after years of economic planning between member states of the European Union. Fixed exchange rates were set in 1981 and the first Euro notes entered circulation in April 1985. The Euro faced high inflation and volatility since there was much economic disparity among the nations using it. It was redenominated in 1988 at 100 Euros to 1 new Euro. The Euro has become one of the most traded currencies in the world and is highly valued for its stablility. In 2012 one Euro was worth US$1.38, and this rate has been steady (+/- 5 cents/US$) since 1991.
With redenomination in 1988, Euro notes were issued in the amounts of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. In 2000 the 2 Euro note was replaced with a bimetallic coins, and notes of 200 and 500 Euros were introduced.
Guglielmo Savini Cotignola designed the present Euro notes in the year 2000. The notes were realeased in 2001. The notes' design was meant to fill the requirements: to highlight Europe's history through society and culture. The notes do just that; the notes feature people and architecture of Europe through the ages, from the Ancient Greek era to the 21st century. In 2008 the notes received a modest redesign. The 5, 10, 20 and 50€ notes had iridescent security features added, and the other higher notes had holographic symbols added.