...the EU has slashed the price of telephone calls and air tickets, because the single market and a common currency reduce prices and increase choice? The EU is a "single market", where competition drives prices down and quality up. The EU has created the euro which is used in 13 countries. The euro gives stability for business and makes it easier to compare prices.
It was the multicultural and international dimensions that attracted Anne to the European institutions. Her job in Brussels deals with the most tangible symbol of European integration — the euro.
Anne was born in Paris, France, in 1945. She is the Secretary to the Mint Directors Working Group on euro coins.
Using a Finnish euro coin to buy a bus ticket in Athens is something we now take for granted. But harmonising the size, weight and other technical characteristics of the 74 billion euro coins of the 12 countries using the single currency is a complex task. This is not a Commission responsibility because minting coins is a very old sovereign right belonging to Member States. However, the Commission provides the secretariat for the necessary coordination between governments and that is Anne’s current job.
Anne has nearly always worked in this area. Her first Commission job involved calculating the daily exchange rate against other currencies of the ecu, a notional currency used mainly to define EU budgets and payments, ‘but also quite important for large companies. They used to ring me up to get the rate’.
The ecu disappeared with the launch of the euro. As the currencies of participating member countries also disappeared and the European Central Bank in Frankfurt took over responsibility for the euro exchange rate, Anne moved on to dealing with euro coin specifications. ‘The main task now is to provide the new Member States with the relevant information. A number will be using the euro within a few years.’
After 32 years in Brussels, the international environment is still the part of her work she likes best. ‘You learn about a lot of countries without even leaving your office. And after so many years here, while I still have a strong link to France, this is now where I most feel at home.’