On January 1, Europeans began using a new single currency, the euro. It became legal tender in twelve nations with a combined population of 300 million. A single currency has long been the dream of European leaders from Charlemagne to Napoleon.
Just three years after the euro's birth as a virtual currency - a financial instrument used by banks but not ordinary citizens - Europeans from Portugal to Finland, and Ireland to Greece, have given up their own national currency for the brand-new euro notes and coins. Despite shortages and lines at cash registers and bank machines, European merchants and shoppers appear to be taking the new currency in stride.
But what does the euro mean both economically and politically for the continent? Pat Bodnar examines that question on this edition of Dateline.