The new guidelines are based on a thorough review of the functioning of the rules for the national sides of euro coins during the first six years of euro cash.
December 19, 2008
The new guidelines maintain indefinitely the basic principle that the national designs on regular euro circulation coins should not be changed, unless the Head of State or his/her symbol is depicted on a coin changes.
Why is there a need for common rules?
Euro coins have one common side and one national side. Since euro coins circulate in the whole euro area (and even beyond), the coins in circulation in a euro-area Member State is typically a mix of euro coins originally issued by many different countries. A too large variety of national designs may be confusing to coin users and create problems for vending machine manufacturers etc. While citizens like the fact that different national sides circulate side by side in all countries, it is for these reasons also important that the total number of different designs does not become too large. That is why the possibility of issuing coins with new national designs is carefully regulated.
What do the new rules change?
The new guidelines maintain the basic principles but introduce some changes and new elements. These include, inter alia, the explicit mentioning of the basic principle that euro circulation coins should, in principle, be issued at face value, a clarification of the meaning of the common design element on the national side (i.e. the 12 stars of the European flag) and a clarification of the roles of the Commission and Member States in the procedure of approving new coin designs.
When will the new rules come into effect?
The new Recommendation adopted by the Commission is immediately applicable. However, since a Recommendation is not legally binding, the Commission will seek endorsement of the rules by the Council in order to make them politically binding. Endorsement by the Council is expected for the beginning of 2009.