The introduction and circulation of euro banknotes in 2002 strengthened and further unified the European Union member states and their territories. Before the euro was introduced, the EU member states had their own currency. European countries that are not part of the EU continue to produce and circulate their own currencies alongside the euro. There are some countries with similar currencies due to their shared history, close borders, and common language. For example, countries from the Soviet Union (like Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan) used the ruble after the USSR was dissolved. Some countries still use the ruble, but many of the former Soviet countries now use their own currency.
Trade and travel in the continent flows easily because Europe is largely landlocked, with many countries and small nations sharing borders. Even with the two World Wars and the winters ravaging the region annually, Europe has a flourishing economy. Because of their relative wealth, European countries rarely have large denominations on their banknotes. Many European banknotes also have heightened security features to prevent counterfeiting. Many of the world’s banknotes are printed in Europe. Two of the biggest banknote printers, De La Rue and Giesecke and Devriant, are based in Europe.