Brussels, 8 May 2001
European Commission provides carers of the blind, deaf and mentally handicapped with euro tokens for familiarisation
With a view to helping the groups of population suffering from sensory or intellectual disabilities to familiarise themselves with the euro coins, the European Commission has produced 37 000 sets of eight euro tokens each, corresponding to the denominations of the euro coins. Pedro Solbes, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, handed the first of these sets to representatives of these groups of population at a special ceremony today in Brussels. The euro tokens will be distributed, through the Member States, to trainers of these groups.
These dummy coins or training tokens were designed on the basis of collaboration between the authorities and the relevant associations at both national and European level. They look and feel like the real euro coins that will circulate as of 1 January 2002. Their edge characteristics, vital for their recognition by blind people, as well as their colours, are identical to the ones of the euro coins and their dimensions are very similar. The design on the common side of the training tokens will include the basic characteristics the numeral of the face value and a relief destined to indicate where the rest of the design is situated. 1(1)
In order to avoid these training tokens entering into circulation and causing confusion, security precautions have been taken so that they will not be acceptable in coin operated machines: the metal composition is different and minute differences exist in their dimensions. Also, the inscription "training token" appears on the obverse.
The training tokens will be sent to each of the Member States. The appropriate national services in the Member States will distribute the tokens to trainers of the vulnerable groups. The distribution will start in the next few days. Similar training dummy banknotes were produced in February by the ECB and distributed by the Commission (IP/01/233).
In the framework of the "€uro week" of the 9th of May, the Commission organised today a ceremony during which Pedro Solbes, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, handed the first set of the training euro tokens to representatives of the "European Blind Union", the "European Union of the Deaf", "Mobility International" and "Inclusion Europe". "This action indicates the will of the European institutions, the Commission in particular, to achieve that none is forgotten in the preparation of the euro changeover" said Mr. Solbes. Among the personalities participating in the ceremony were Mr. Panayotis Kouroublis, MP and a founder of the European movement in favour of the handicapped groups.
The Commission has taken a number of wide-ranging initiatives for helping vulnerable groups. Under the "Euro made easy" programme, it developed a European approach to respond to the specific needs of the populations lacking access to information. The Commission co-ordinates, together with the Member States and the specific associations, a network of more than 30 000 trainers specialised in the needs of these populations. It produces and distributes the necessary information material in ten languages and several hundred thousand copies. In addition, Community financing was used for the production by the European Union of the Blind of brochures in Braille and in easy-to-read characters, games and other information tools. "Everyone of us in the euro-area will have to learn a new range of values as well as becoming familiar with the new euro notes and coins. The euro tokens will facilitate the transition for fellow citizens with sensory or intellectual disabilities" said David Byrne, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection.
The general public, in particular the vulnerable groups, will also have the possibility, as of mid-December, to obtain kits of real euro coins to familiarise themselves with the new money. "
NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS DESIGNATED FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF EURO TRAINING TOKENS FOR VULNERABLE GROUPS