Brussels, 14 May 2013
Commission outlines options for future of 1 and 2 euro cent coins
The Commission has suggested four possible scenarios for the future issuance or withdrawal of 1 and 2 euro cent coins. The Communication adopted today responds to a request from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in 20121 to investigate the use of the 1 and 2 euro cent coins against the criteria of costs and public acceptability.2 The conclusions of the exercise largely focussed on the cost-benefits of producing and issuing the coins and the attitude of the general public towards the coins.
“The Commission has consulted business and consumer associations, treasuries, mints and central banks on the pros and cons of continued issuance of the 1 and 2 cent coins,” said Olli Rehn, Commission Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro. “We will now take forward this discussion with stakeholders and Member States and see whether a clear preference emerges on which to base a legislative proposal.”
The Commission has structured its analysis around four possible scenarios:
A number of key conclusions can be drawn from the stakeholder consultation and the analysis:
Further discussions with all the relevant stakeholders are needed on the basis of the four scenarios described. Should a clear preference emerge, the Commission will come forward with the necessary legislative proposals.
Euro coins are issued by Member States but the Council is competent for harmonising their denominations and technical specifications. Denominations and technical specifications of euro coins intended for circulation are laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 975/98. In accordance with that Council Regulation, only coins denominated in euro and cent and complying with the denominations and technical specifications laid down by the Council have the status of legal tender in all Member States whose currency is the euro. Any change in the existing euro coin denomination structure (e.g. abolishing the 1 and 2 euro cent coins) would require a change of the relevant Council regulation.
Since January 2002, euro area Member States have issued more than 45.8 billion 1 and 2 euro cent coins, the equivalent of 137 coins per capita.
For more information see:
Regulation (EU) No 651/2012 on the issuance of euro coins (OJ L 201, 27.7.2012, p. 135).
A detailed staff working paper is also annexed to the Communication.