Greece joined the European Union on Jan. 1, 1981. It joined the Eurozone on Jan. 1, 2001, allowing it to be among the first group of countries that issued euro banknotes on Jan. 1, 2002.
Greece applied for admission to the European Union on June 12, 1975. It had already been an associate member since 1961. The transition from the Greek drachma, the currency that Greece used before joining the Eurozone, to the euro took place during 2001 and 2002. During all of 2001, the euro was legal tender in Greece, but it did not exist as a tangible currency. After the actual euro notes came out on the first day of 2002, they existed as a dual currency with the drachma until Feb. 28 of that year.