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Being a member of the single currency eurozone, France does not apply currency controls and is completely open to foreign exchange. The single European currency, the euro (EUR, ), is the second most traded currency globally after the US dollar. Sending money to France or transferring money from France is not restricted.
In the 1970s France maintained strict foreign exchange restrictions in an effort to protect the French franc. As the countrys economic situation improved in the 1980s, the government dismantled its foreign exchange controls over six years, ending with a decree in December 1989 to abolish all remaining restrictions, a decade before the advent of the single currency in 1999.
In an effort to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, the EU requires individuals transferring amounts over EUR10,000 in or out of the zone to declare it to the European authorities. In France, the transfer of 10,000 to or from a non-EU country must be declared to the national authorities.
Sending money to France and within Europe has been vastly simplified in the last two decades. The introduction of the single currency in 1999 has made the transfer of money between the 18 member countries cheap and fast as the zone has created a single payments system. This single payment system extends to Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, despite their retaining independent currencies.
The value of the Euro faltered with the 2008 global financial crisis and the resulting economic downturn in the Eurozone, which affected countries like Greece, Italy and Spain more heavily than the anchor economies, France and Germany. Nonetheless, the euro is one of the worlds most successful currency unions, and it serves as the peg for two common currencies in Francophone Africa, the Central African CFA franc (XAF) and West African CFA franc (XOF).
The euro is one of the most frequently traded currencies in the world. The most recent survey from the Bank for International Settlements shows that in April 2013, euros were most frequently exchanged for USD, Japanese yen (JPY), and GBP.
The creation of monetary union resulted in the adoption of a single monetary policy set by the European Central Bank (ECB). Frances central bank the Banque de France, ensures the stability of the French financial sector, and oversees payment systems. The Prudential Control and Resolution Authority (Authorit de Contrle Prudentiel et de Rsolution, ACPR), an independent agency under the umbrella of the central bank, is responsible for monitoring the banking and insurance markets. All financial service providers, including bureaux de change, are required to register with the ACPR.
France remains open to foreign investment although, like many countries in the Eurozone, it has a relatively high tax burden. Since 2012, the government has increased tax requirements in high turnover areas, both corporate and individual, as part of its plan to re-inject public spending into the economy. In August 2012, it was the first country in the Eurozone to introduce a 0.2% Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) on the purchase of stocks in publicly traded French companies with a market capitalisation of at least EUR1bn. In addition, Frances 2014 budget set personal income tax rates at 45% for all income above EUR151,200.
At the same time, a handful of new measures were introduced to stimulate property investment. The 2014 budget includes a one-year 25% exemption for capital gains realised on real estate when the buyer intends to build residential premises. Starting in January 2014, France reduced the period during which real estate owners must pay income tax on their land value from 30 years to 22 years.
The euro is made up of 100 cents. Euro banknotes are printed in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Coins are available in values of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2. Each member countrys central bank issues its own banknotes and coins; the latter have national designs on one side and common designs on the other. All euro currency from any country is accepted within the currency zone.
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