Wednesday, June 08, 2011
The long awaited tenth birthday of the euro is almost upon us, as January 2012 will mark 10 years since the introduction of euro banknotes and coins. For some it’s a dream come true, but for others, it certainly won’t be time to celebrate.
The euro, it seems, has matured rather earlier than expected. As at ten years old, it will have already left behind its heady years of youthful fun. Gone are the days when it leapt ahead, leading the world’s currencies. Gone are the days of dreamy idealism when political and media commentators whispered on, “you can be anything you want to be”. Indeed, for the euro, the noughties will always be remembered fondly.
Like all youngsters these days, the travails of the modern world have brought adolescence down on the euro’s head with a bump, and growing up has proven tough. Life in the ‘real world’ is not quite as simple as it initially seemed, and living up to certain people’s expectations appears virtually impossible. The euro has come to learn that its apparently ‘reckless’ behaviour will not be tolerated, neither by voters nor markets. Instead they now whisper, "the party's over, it's time to clean up". Strange really, considering that no-one seemed to mind the wild parties of the noughties...
Anyway, enough of that introspective nonsense. Despite some growing pains, there are those intent on carrying on the celebrations.
Cue the European Commission….
For those who wish to remember the day for years to come, what could be better than a special commemorative coin? Better still, a coin designed by its nearest and dearest – the eurozone citizenry.
Yes that’s right, in March, the European Economic and Financial Affairs Commission launched a competition to design the 2012 commemorative coin. Five designs have already been chosen and you can vote for your favourite here. (you won't be surprised to learn that none of the shortlisted contributions draw inspiration from the placards that have featured in various euro related anti-austerity protests lately). The winning coin will be issued in all eurozone countries.
So keep your eyes out for the coins in January next year. In years to come they could be a valuable collector’s item, or perhaps even a relic of the past.