Following France's opposition to a euro coin marking the Battle of Waterloo, Belgium adapts its plan and mints a commemorative coin with an unusual demonimination. Sharon Reich reports.
There's a new 2.5 euro coin being minted in Belgium. Odd denomination right? That's because it's Belgium's creative approach to creating a commemorative coin marking the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. The initial plan for a 2 euro coin was scrapped after France objected, saying it could disrupt European unity. Eurozone rules however, allow a country to unilaterally issue a coin, if it is in an odd denomination, ie two and a half. Belgium's finance minister Johan Van Overtveldt says Belgium avoided a diplomatic row and found its own solution. SOUNDBITE: Belgium's finance minister Johan Van Overtveldt saying (French): "I think it's a pragmatic reaction from Belgium because Belgium is well aware that Europe has a lot of painful, difficult issues to deal with, which will require a lot of time and energy to be solved. That's why we didn't want to waste time in what could have led to a diplomatic incident over something that just wasn't worth it." 70,000 coins are being minted. They depict Waterloo's Lions Mount, located at the site of France's defeat, as well as marks symbolizing troop positions. But don't expect to see them being used in the rest of the euro zone, as these coins are not in circulation in the rest of the bloc.