Communication on issues related to the continued issuance of the 1 and 2 euro cent coins

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2013) 281
Publication Date 14/05/2013
Content Type

The introduction of the euro in 1999 was a major step in European integration. Since 1 January 2002, the euro has been available in physical form, as banknotes and coins with now around 330 million EU citizens in 17 of the EU Member States using the euro as their currency. The denomination structure of the euro banknotes as well as of the euro coins (1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents, 1 euro and 2 euro) has remained unchanged since the introduction of the euro.

Euro coins are issued by Member States but the Council is competent for harmonizing their denominations and technical specifications. Denominations and technical specifications of euro coins intended for circulation have been laid down in Regulation (EC) No 975/98. In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 974/98, coins denominated in euro and cent and complying with the denominations and technical specifications laid down by the Council are the only coins which have the status of legal tender in all Member States whose currency is the euro.

In 2012, the European Parliament and the Council requested the competent institutions to investigate the use of different denominations of euro coins and euro banknotes against the criteria of cost and public acceptability. This mandate should be seen against the background of the debate regarding the usefulness of the two smallest euro coin denominations since their introduction. The main elements of this debate are the high production and handling costs of the 1 and 2 euro cent coins compared to their face value, the significant drop (high loss) of these coins from circulation, and the decrease in purchasing power of these two small denominations.

The requested assessment was conducted on the basis of a stakeholder consultation and an extensive stock-taking exercise. This communication presents four main policy options (from maintaining the status quo to withdrawal of the 1 and 2 cent coins), and highlights the options' main features as well as their pros and cons. The accompanying staff working document contains more detailed elements.

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Related Link(s)
EU Observer, 15/05/2013: EU considers withdrawal of 1 and 2 euro cent coins
Deutsche Welle, 19/05/2013: EU mulls scrapping its one- and two-cent coins

EUR-Lex: SWD(2013)175: Commission Staff Working Document accompanying COM(2013)281
European Commission: Press Release, 14/05/2013: Commission outlines options for future of 1 and 2 euro cent coins

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