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IP/05/663

Brussels, 3 June 2005

National sides of the euro coins: Commission updates common guidelines

 In co-operation with the Member States, the European Commission today made recommendations regarding the national side of the euro coins. The guidelines are intended to ensure that all coins are clearly identifiable as they increasingly 'travel' across the Union. Coins issued by new euro area members, or coins with new national sides introduced by existing members, should bear either the name of the issuing Member State or an abbreviation of it. Moreover, the national side should not repeat the denomination of the coin as this indication already appears on the common side.  These guidelines supplement the two existing design features, namely the 12 stars surrounding the design and the year of issue.  

In co-operation with the Member States, the Commission has prepared a few guidelines for the future national sides of the euro. First, they must bear the name of the issuing Member or its abbreviation to facilitate the identification of the origin of the coins. Secondly, since the common side already bears the currency name and the denomination of the coin, this should not be repeated on the national side. These rules generalise a practice which is already widespread among Member States for their present national sides. The practice for Member States to inform each other well in time before they issue newly-designed coins should also become generalised.

Euro coins have increasingly been 'travelling' throughout the 12-nation euro area since they were put into circulation on the 1st of January 2002. One of the sides is common to all issuing countries whereas the other presents national characteristics. The national side constitutes an expression of national and cultural diversity. Certain countries portray the reigning monarch (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Spain), others national symbols or heroes (e.g. France's Marianne, Italy's Dante, Ireland's harp...).  Some also mention the name of the issuing country in full or its abbreviation whereas a small number do not[1]. The choice of the design of the national sides falls under the responsibility of the issuing Member State.

There is a need for common guidelines, to ensure that the coins are easily recognisable in view of the increasing number of different national sides.  First, some in the new Member States are already actively preparing themselves to join the euro area in the coming years. In addition, Member States have the possibility, since 2004, to issue commemorative 2-euro coins to celebrate specific events.

The recommendation will be on the agenda of the June 7 finance ministers meeting. The Council will decide the same day on the updating of the design of the common side of euro coins (a broadening of the map in order to integrate the mew member States).

Of course, the existing coins remain valid. The guidelines for the national side will be useful for new euro area members when issuing their own coins and for current members that mint coins with new designs.


[1] To see all national sides of the euro coins go to :

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/euro/notes_and_coins/coins_images_en.htm


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