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France melts down millions of coins

The design of new money falls foul of the European Commission’s requirements

The Monnaie de Paris, France’s national mint, has had to remelt 27 million coins after failing to request approval of their design from the European Commission. The executive body later rejected the new money after it had already been minted, French daily La Lettre reported earlier this week.

The ten, 20, and 50-cent coins with a new pattern were produced in November. However, the bloc’s legislative arm decided that the way the stars of the EU flag had been depicted on them was not compliant with the European Commission’s strict and precise requirements.

According to the mint, the 27 million rejected coins account for less than 2% of the 1.4 billion coins it produced in 2023. The design was reportedly denied just six days before the presentation that had been scheduled for December 7, when French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire visited the Paris Mint headquarters. The reversal has reportedly saddled the facility with costs of up to $1.6 million to melt and remint the coins.

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Under EU regulations, member states can change the design of the national face of euro coins every 15 years. However, the green light from the EC is required, as well as from other eurozone governments that have to be informed and have seven days to raise objections.

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After proposing a draft design of new coins in September 2023, Monnaie de Paris asked for approval “in accordance with existing procedures,” the mint said in a statement on Friday.

“Given the incompressible production deadlines, the Paris Mint had initiated the production of the new coins to ensure the distribution of the new standard coins at the start of 2024, in accordance with what was initially announced,” the Monnaie said.

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Meanwhile, the head of the mint, Marc Schwartz, said that “the French state” was responsible for the mishap.

The design of the new coins proposed by the French government and validated by the Commission is still a secret and will be unveiled before the spring, the French Economy Ministry said, commenting on the issue.

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January 14, 2024 at 03:26PM
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