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Common guidelines: the national sides of euro coins
As the new Member States gradually introduce the euro, the number of national sides of euro circulation coins will increase. For the national sides of both normal coins and commemorative coins, this Recommendation lays down common guidelines to strengthen the overall coherence of the euro coinage system.
Commission Recommendation 2005/491/EC of 3 June 2005 on common guidelines for the national sides of euro circulation coins [Official Journal L 186 of 18.7.2005].
In this Recommendation, the European Commission lays down common guidelines for the national sides of euro coins. The Ecofin Council of 7 June 2005 [PDF ] welcomed these common guidelines, which were drawn up in close cooperation with the Member States.
Indicating the issuing Member State and specifying the information appearing on the national side
The national sides of all denominations of euro circulation coins must indicate the Member State issuing the coin. This may be done by indicating the name of the Member State or by an abbreviation of it.
Also, the national side should not repeat any indication of the denomination, or any parts thereof. Nor should the name of the single currency or of its subdivision appear on the national side, unless such indication stems from the use of a different alphabet.
On the other hand, the edge lettering of the two-euro coin may bear an indication of the denomination, but only if the figure "2" and/or the term "euro" is used.
Informing the other Member States about new national sides
Under the Recommendation, before the design of a new national side of euro coins is formally approved, the Member States are to inform each other of the design, including the edge letterings.
New designs are to be forwarded by the issuing Member State to the European Commission. The Commission will then inform the other Member States without delay via the relevant subcommittee of the Economic and Financial Committee. All relevant information on new national coin designs will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Applying the Recommendation to normal and commemorative coins
The common guidelines apply to national sides and edge letterings of euro circulation coins. They apply to both normal and commemorative euro coins issued after the adoption of this Recommendation (on 3 June 2005).
The Recommendation is addressed to all the Member States participating in the euro as referred to in Article 1 of Regulation (EC) No 974/98.
The common guidelines also apply to the monetary agreements which the Community has signed with the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City State. Under the agreements, those countries are allowed to issue certain quantities of euro coins for circulation.
Extending the euro zone
Following the enlargements of the European Union in May 2004 and in January 2007 (to 27 Member States), several of the new Member States have started to prepare themselves for adoption of the euro. These preparations include the selection of the national sides of their future euro coins.