EU newcomers Cyprus and Malta adopted the euro yesterday, bringing to 15 the number of countries using the currency with increasing clout over the slumping US dollar.
The Mediterranean islands, both former British colonies, scrapped the Cyprus pound and Maltese lira.
But Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi had to wait before getting his hands on the new currency - a cash machine did not work when Mr Gonzi tried to withdraw euros, and he was obliged to use a different ATM.
The euro has risen more than 11 per cent against the dollar during the year and nine East European countries are waiting to convert.
Only the southern, Greek-speaking part of Cyprus will use the euro. The government in the north is recognised only by Turkey, but many Turkish Cypriot merchants will also accept euros along with Turkish lira.
Cyprus' euro coins will be inscribed in Greek and Turkish, with designs that include the mouflon or wild sheep, a national symbol.
Malta's one and two euros coins will bear the Maltese cross.
Combined, the economies of Cyprus and Malta account for less than 0.3 per cent of the euro zone's GDP. Both easily met the requirements for limiting deficits and inflation, but euro adoption has also brought public scepticism - an EU poll found 74 per cent of Cypriots and 65 per cent of Maltese believe the euro will drive up prices.