Europeans to vote on their favourite new design for a commemorative 2-euro coin marking ten years of the single currency.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the euro and European Monetary Union, in 2009 all 15 eurozone countries will be issuing a commemorative 2-euro coin with a new design.
After a competition between the national Mints in the eurozone, each of which has put forward a selection of designs, the winning image is to be chosen by public vote on a special euro coin design website.
Voting will close on 22 February 2008, with the winning design announced three days later. If you voted for that design, you could win a set of high-value euro collector coins.
On 1 January 1999, the euro became the new currency of 11 EU countries, who also agreed to merge their monetary policy under the authority of the European Central Bank. For three years, national banknotes and coins continued to be used but, since their values in relation to the euro were fixed, they were effectively euros in all but appearance. They were replaced by euro banknotes and coins in 2002.
The euro and the EU's single market are underpinned by a political and economic framework known as Economic and Monetary Union. It has helped keep inflation and interest rates low for consumers and companies, and has encouraged sound public finances. The single currency has abolished exchange costs and makes it easy for people and businesses to compare prices among the eurozone's now 15 member countries.
Ten years after its launch, the euro is a strong and stable currency that has firmly established itself as a world currency.