Flag of Europe
The European Flag or Flag of Europe is an official symbol of two separate international organisations, the Council of Europe and the European Union. It consists of a circle of twelve five-pointed yellow stars on a blue field; the flag was designed in 1955, launched that year by the Council of Europe as a symbol for the whole of Europe. The Council of Europe urged it to be adopted by other European organisations, in 1985 the European Communities adopted it; the EU inherited the flag's use when it was formed in 1993, being the successor organisation to the EC starting from 1 December 2009. It has been in wide official use by the EC since the 1990s, but it has never been given official status in any of the EU's treaties, its adoption as an official symbol of the EU was planned as part of the proposed 2004 European Constitution, which failed to be ratified in 2005. Alternatively, it is sometimes called the Flag of the European Union when representing the EU. Since its adoption by the European Union, it has become broadly associated with the supranational organisation, due to its high profile and heavy usage of the emblem.
It has been used by pro-EU protestors in the colour revolutions of the 2000s, e.g. in Belarus or Moldova. The graphical specifications given by the EU in 1996 describe the design as: "On an azure field a circle of twelve golden mullets, their points not touching." According to graphical specifications published online by the Council of Europe in 2004, the flag is rectangular with 2:3 proportions: its fly is one and a half times the length of its hoist. Twelve yellow stars are centred in a circle upon a blue background. All the stars are upright, have five points and are spaced like the hour positions on the face of a clock; the diameter of each star is equal to one-ninth of the height of the hoist. The colours are regulated in the 1996 guide by the EC, equivalently in the 2004 guide by the Council of Europe; the base colour of the flag is defined as Pantone "Reflex Blue", while the golden stars are portrayed in Pantone "Yellow": The 2013 logo of the Council of Europe has the colours: The Council of Europe gave the 1955 flag a symbolic description in the following terms: Against the blue sky of the Western world, the stars represent the peoples of Europe in a circle, a symbol of unity.
Their number shall be invariably set at the symbol of completeness and perfection. The official symbolic description adopted by the EU omits the reference to the "Western world"; the number of stars on the flag is fixed at twelve, representing "perfection and completeness". It is not related to the number of member states of the EU. Other symbolic interpretations have been offered based on the account of its design by Paul M. Levy; the five-pointed star represents aspiration and education. Their golden color is that of the sun, said to symbolize glory and enlightenment, their arrangement in a circle represents the constellation of Corona Borealis and can be seen as a crown and the stability of government. The blue background symbolizes truth and the intellect, it is the color traditionally used to represent the Virgin Mary. In many paintings of the Virgin Mary as Stella Maris she is crowned with a circle of stars; the twelve-star "flag of Europe" was designed in 1950 and adopted by the Council of Europe in 1955.
The same flag was adopted by the European Parliament in 1983. The European Council adopted it was an "emblem" for the European Communities in 1985, its status in the European Communities was inherited by the European Union upon its formation in 1993. The proposal to adopt it as official flag of the European Union failed with the ratification of the European Constitution in 2005, mention of all emblems suggesting statehood was removed from the Treaty of Lisbon of 2007, although sixteen member states signed a declaration supporting the continued use of the flag. In 2007, the European Parliament adopted the flag for its own use. Prior to development of political institutions, flags representing Europe were limited to unification movements; the most popular were the European Movement's large green'E' on a white background, the "Pan European flag" of the Paneuropean Union. The Council of Europe in 1950 appointed a committee to study the question of adopting a symbol. Numerous proposals were looked into.
Among the unsuccessful proposals was the flag of Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi's International Paneuropean Union, which he had himself adopted for the European Parliamentary Union. The design was a blue field with a red cross inside an orange circle at the centre. Kalergi was committed to defending the cross as "the great symbol of Europe's moral unity", the red cross in particular being "recognized by the whole world, by Christian and non-Christian nations as a symbol of international charity and of the brotherhood of man", but the proposal was rejected by Turkey on grounds of its religious associations in spite of Kalergi's suggestion of adding a crescent alongside the cross to overcome the Muslim objections. Other proposals included the flag was the European Movement, which had a large green E on a white background, a design was based on the Olympic rings, eight silver rings on a blue background, rejected due to the rings' similarity with "dial", "chain" and "zeros", or a large yellow star on a blue background, rejected due to its
The pound known as the lira, was the currency of Cyprus, including the Sovereign Base Areas in Akrotiri and Dhekelia, until 31 December 2007, when the Republic of Cyprus adopted the euro. However, the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus used and still uses on the official level the Turkish lira; the Cypriot pound was replaced by the euro as official currency of the Republic of Cyprus on 1 January 2008 at the irrevocable fixed exchange rate of CYP 0.585274 per EUR 1.00. The British introduced the pound sterling unit to Cyprus in 1879 at a rate of one pound to 180 Turkish piastres, it remained equal in value to the pound sterling until 1972, some twelve years after Cyprus gained independence from the United Kingdom. The Cyprus pound was divided into 20 shillings, in common with its United Kingdom counterpart. However, unlike the United Kingdom shilling, the Cyprus shilling was divided into 9 piastres, thus establishing a nomenclature link to earlier Ottoman currency; the piastre was itself divided into 40 para.
The para denomination was used on postage stamps. However, the 1⁄4-piastre coin was equal to 10 para and called δεκάρα in Greek and the 1⁄2-piastre coin was equal to 20 para and called εικοσάρα; the introduction of the British currency into Cyprus was controversial from its inception in 1879 as technically the island remained a province of the Ottoman Empire and the right to issue currency within the Ottoman Empire rested with the Ottoman Sultan. A question on the legality of introducing the pound in Cyprus was raised by the British Member of Parliament, Mr. Thomson Hankey in the United Kingdom parliament in 1879, but concerns were dismissed by the British government, they ceased to be an issue on the island following its full annexation by Britain in 1914. In 1955, a decision was made by the British colonial authorities to decimalise the Cypriot pound, in this they used the system proposed by William Brown, a member of the United Kingdom parliament, who suggested in 1855 that the pound sterling in the United Kingdom should be divided into one-thousand parts, each called a mil.
Although this system was never adopted in the United Kingdom, it was used in several British colonies, including Hong Kong from 1863 to 1866. This latter example may have been the impetus to use a pound-mil system in Cyprus as the Palestinian pound was for a brief period accepted as legal tender in Cyprus. Cyprus decimalized in 1955 with 1,000 mils to the pound. Colloquially, the 5-mil coin was known as a "piastre" and the 50-mil coin as a "shilling"; the subdivision was changed to 100 cents to the pound on 3 October 1983. At that time, the smallest coin still in circulation was that of 5 mils; this soon was abolished. Mil-denominated coins are no longer legal tender. Towards the end of the Cypriot pound era, some cashiers omitted the 1- and 2-cent coins from the change they gave. Owner-operated businesses rounded down the net amount to be paid to the nearest multiple of 5 cents; the Cypriot national currency was replaced by the euro on 1 January 2008. The currency entered the Exchange Rate Mechanism II on 2 May 2005 and it was limited within the band of CYP 0.585274 ±15% per euro.
A formal application to adopt the euro was submitted on 13 February 2007. On May 16, 2007, along with Malta, received the European Commission's approval for this and was confirmed by the European Parliament on 20 June 2007 and the EU leaders on 21 June 2007; the permanent exchange rate, EUR 1.00 = CYP 0.585274, was decided by the EU Finance Ministers on 10 July 2007. From 12 July 2007 to 5 December 2007, the exchange rate remained at 0.5842. Since 7 December 2007, the rate has been fixed at the irrevocable rate, € = £0.585274. In summer 2006, the Bank of Cyprus started including on its statements the indicative balance in euros; the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority followed suit with its bills two months later. A small number of shops showed indicative euro totals on their receipts. By late autumn 2006, the number of banks and shops offering indicative euro equivalents on their statements and pricing had increased significantly; the Cypriot pound was replaced by the euro as official currency of the Republic of Cyprus on 1 January 2008 at the irrevocable fixed exchange rate of CYP 0.585274 per €1.
However, pound banknotes and coins continued to have legal tender status and were accepted for cash payments until 31 January 2008. Cypriot pounds were convertible free of charge at Cypriot credit institutions until 30 June 2008. CYP coins were convertible at the Central Bank of Cyprus until 31 December 2009 and CYP banknotes were convertible until 31 December 2017. For a wider history surrounding currency in the region, see The History of British Currency in the Middle East. In 1879, copper coins were introduced in denominations of 1⁄4, 1⁄2, 1 piastre; the Greek-Cypriots called the first of these coins the δεκάρα, referring to its equivalence to 10 para. The Greek name for the 1⁄2-piastre coin was εικοσάρα; these coins were followed, in 1901, by silver 3, 4 1⁄2, 9 and 18 piastres, the last two being equal to 1 and 2 shillings. The 3 piastres was only issued that year; the 1⁄4 piastre was last struck in 1926. In 1934, scalloped-shaped 1⁄2 and 1 piastre coins were introduced struck in cupro-nickel, changing to bronze in 1942.
In 1947, cupro-nickel 1 and 2 shil
Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Monaco)
Euro gold and silver commemorative coins are special euro coins minted and issued by member states of the Eurozone in gold and silver, although other precious metals are used in rare occasions. Monaco was one of the first countries allowed to introduced the euro on 1 January 2002. Since the Monnaie de Paris Mint in France have been minting both normal issues of Monegasque euro coins, which are intended for circulation, commemorative euro coins in gold and silver; these special coins have a legal tender only in Monaco, unlike the normal issues of the Monegasque euro coins, which have a legal tender in every country of the Eurozone. This means that the commemorative coins made of gold and silver cannot be used as money in other countries. Furthermore, as their bullion value and collectable value vastly exceeds their face value, these coins are not intended to be used as means of payment at all—although it remains possible. For this reason, they are named Collectors' coins; the coins commemorate the anniversaries of historical events or draw attention to current events of special importance.
Monaco mints one of these coins on average per year, in both gold and silver, with face value ranging from 5 to 100 euros. As of 28 December 2008, seven variations of Monegasque euro commemorative coins have been minted: one in 2002, two in 2003, one in 2004, one in 2005 and two in 2008; these special high-value commemorative coins are not to be confused with €2 commemorative coins, which are coins designated for circulation and do have legal tender status in all countries of the Eurozone. The following table shows the number of coins minted per year. In the first section, the coins are grouped by the metal used, while in the second section they are grouped by their face value
The euro is the official currency of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area, counts about 343 million citizens as of 2019; the euro is the second largest and second most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar. The euro is subdivided into 100 cents; the currency is used by the institutions of the European Union, by four European microstates that are not EU members, as well as unilaterally by Montenegro and Kosovo. Outside Europe, a number of special territories of EU members use the euro as their currency. Additionally, 240 million people worldwide as of 2018 use currencies pegged to the euro; the euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar. As of August 2018, with more than €1.2 trillion in circulation, the euro has one of the highest combined values of banknotes and coins in circulation in the world, having surpassed the U.
S. dollar. The name euro was adopted on 16 December 1995 in Madrid; the euro was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting currency on 1 January 1999, replacing the former European Currency Unit at a ratio of 1:1. Physical euro coins and banknotes entered into circulation on 1 January 2002, making it the day-to-day operating currency of its original members, by March 2002 it had replaced the former currencies. While the euro dropped subsequently to US$0.83 within two years, it has traded above the U. S. dollar since the end of 2002, peaking at US$1.60 on 18 July 2008. In late 2009, the euro became immersed in the European sovereign-debt crisis, which led to the creation of the European Financial Stability Facility as well as other reforms aimed at stabilising and strengthening the currency; the euro is managed and administered by the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank and the Eurosystem. As an independent central bank, the ECB has sole authority to set monetary policy; the Eurosystem participates in the printing and distribution of notes and coins in all member states, the operation of the eurozone payment systems.
The 1992 Maastricht Treaty obliges most EU member states to adopt the euro upon meeting certain monetary and budgetary convergence criteria, although not all states have done so. The United Kingdom and Denmark negotiated exemptions, while Sweden turned down the euro in a 2003 referendum, has circumvented the obligation to adopt the euro by not meeting the monetary and budgetary requirements. All nations that have joined the EU since 1993 have pledged to adopt the euro in due course. Since 1 January 2002, the national central banks and the ECB have issued euro banknotes on a joint basis. Euro banknotes do not show. Eurosystem NCBs are required to accept euro banknotes put into circulation by other Eurosystem members and these banknotes are not repatriated; the ECB issues 8% of the total value of banknotes issued by the Eurosystem. In practice, the ECB's banknotes are put into circulation by the NCBs, thereby incurring matching liabilities vis-à-vis the ECB; these liabilities carry interest at the main refinancing rate of the ECB.
The other 92% of euro banknotes are issued by the NCBs in proportion to their respective shares of the ECB capital key, calculated using national share of European Union population and national share of EU GDP weighted. The euro is divided into 100 cents. In Community legislative acts the plural forms of euro and cent are spelled without the s, notwithstanding normal English usage. Otherwise, normal English plurals are sometimes used, with many local variations such as centime in France. All circulating coins have a common side showing the denomination or value, a map in the background. Due to the linguistic plurality in the European Union, the Latin alphabet version of euro is used and Arabic numerals. For the denominations except the 1-, 2- and 5-cent coins, the map only showed the 15 member states which were members when the euro was introduced. Beginning in 2007 or 2008 the old map is being replaced by a map of Europe showing countries outside the Union like Norway, Belarus, Russia or Turkey.
The 1-, 2- and 5-cent coins, keep their old design, showing a geographical map of Europe with the 15 member states of 2002 raised somewhat above the rest of the map. All common sides were designed by Luc Luycx; the coins have a national side showing an image chosen by the country that issued the coin. Euro coins from any member state may be used in any nation that has adopted the euro; the coins are issued in denominations of €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, 1c. To avoid the use of the two smallest coins, some cash transactions are rounded to the nearest five cents in the Netherlands and Ireland and in Finland; this practice is discouraged by the Commission, as is the practice of certain shops of refusing to accept high-value euro notes. Commemorative coins with €2 face value have been issued with changes to the design of the national side of the coin; these include both issued coins, such as the €2 commemorative coin for the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, nationally i
Greek euro coins
Greek euro coins feature a unique design for each of the eight coins. They were all designed by Georgios Stamatopoulos with the minor coins depicting Greek ships, the middle ones portraying famous Greeks and the two large denominations showing images of Greek history and mythology. All designs feature the 12 stars of the EU, the year of imprint and a tiny symbol of the Bank of Greece. Uniquely, the value of the coins is expressed on the national side in the Greek alphabet, as well as being on the common side in the Roman alphabet; the euro cent is known as the lepto in Greek. Greece did not enter the Eurozone until 2001 and was not able to start minting coins as early as the other eleven member states, so a number of coins circulated in 2002 were not minted in Athens but in Finland and Spain; the coins minted in Athens for the euro introduction in 2002, as well as all the subsequent Greek euro coins, carry only the Greek mint mark. For images of the common side and a detailed description of the coins, see euro coins.
The following table shows the mintage quantity for all Greek euro coins, per denomination, per year. In 2001, the Bank of Greece issued starter kits for the introduction of the Euro. Greece has a good collection of euro commemorative coins in silver although a few coins have been minted in gold, their face value range from €10 to €200 euro. This is done as a legacy of an old national practice of minting gold and silver coins; these coins are not intended to be used as means of payment, so they do not circulate. Here you can find some samples: The Euro Information Website – Greece euroHOBBY Greece
Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Belgium)
Euro gold and silver commemorative coins are special euro coins minted and issued by member states of the Eurozone in gold and silver, although other precious metals are used in rare occasions. Belgium was one of the first twelve countries in the Eurozone that introduced the euro on 1 January 2002. Since the Belgian Royal Mint have been minting both normal issues of Belgian euro coins, which are intended for circulation, commemorative euro coins in gold and silver; these special coins are only legal tender in Belgium, unlike the normal issues of the Belgian euro coins, which are legal tender in every country of the Eurozone. This means that the commemorative coins made of gold and silver cannot be used as money in other countries. Furthermore, as their bullion value vastly exceeds their face value, these coins are not intended to be used as means of payment at all—although it remains possible. For this reason, they are named Collectors' coins; the coins commemorate the anniversaries of historical events or draw attention to current events of special importance.
Belgium mints five of these coins on average per year, in both gold and silver, with face value ranging from 10 to 100 euros. All the coins were designed by Luc Luycx; as of 3 July 2008, 27 variations of Belgian commemorative coins have been minted: two in 2002, two in 2003, four in 2004, four in 2005, six in 2006, six in 2007, seven in 2008 and two in 2009 so far. These special high-value commemorative coins are not to be confused with €2 commemorative coins, which are coins designated for circulation and do have legal tender status in all countries of the Eurozone; the following table shows the number of coins minted per year. In the first section, the coins are grouped by the metal used, while in the second section they are grouped by their face value
There are eight euro coin denominations, ranging from one cent to two euros. The coins first came into use in 2002, they have a common reverse, portraying a map of Europe, but each country in the eurozone has its own design on the obverse, which means that each coin has a variety of different designs in circulation at once. Four European microstates which use the euro as their currency have the right to mint coins with their own designs on the obverse side; the coins, various commemorative coins, are minted at numerous national mints across the European Union to strict national quotas. Obverse designs are chosen nationally, while the reverse and the currency as a whole is managed by the European Central Bank; the euro came into existence on 1 January 1999. It had been a goal of its predecessors since the 1960s; the Maastricht Treaty entered into force in 1993 with the goal of creating economic and monetary union by 1999 for all EU states except the UK and Denmark. In 1999 the currency was born and in 2002 notes and coins began to circulate.
It replaced the former national currencies and the eurozone has since expanded further to some newer EU states. In 2009 the Lisbon Treaty formalised its political authority, the Eurogroup, alongside the European Central Bank. In 2004 €2 commemorative coins were allowed to be minted in six states. By 2007, all states but France and the Netherlands had minted a commemorative issue and the first eurozone-wide commemorative coin was issued to celebrate 50 years of the Treaty of Rome. In 2009, the second eurozone-wide issue of a 2-euro commemorative coin was issued, celebrating ten years of the Economic and Monetary Union. In 2012, the third eurozone-wide issue of a 2-euro commemorative coin was issued, celebrating 10 years of euro coins and notes. To date, only Cyprus has not independently issued a €2 commemorative coin; as the EU's membership has since expanded in 2004, 2007 and 2013, with further expansions envisaged, the common face of all euro coins from the value of 10c and above were redesigned in 2007 to show a new map.
Slovenia joined the eurozone in 2007, Cyprus and Malta joined in 2008, Slovakia in 2009, Estonia in 2011, Latvia in 2014 and Lithuania in 2015, introducing seven more national-side designs. Andorra started minting coins in 2014, so from 2015 there are 23 countries with their own national sides. There are eight different denominations of euro coins: 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2; the 1c, 2c and 5c coins show Europe in relation to Africa in the world. The remaining coins show the EU before its enlargement in May 2004 if minted before 1 January 2007, or a geographical map of Europe if minted after. Coins from Italy, San Marino, the Vatican City and Portugal show the geographical map if minted in 2008 or later; the common side was designed by Luc Luycx of the Royal Belgian Mint. They symbolise the unity of the EU; the national sides were designed by the NCBs of the eurozone in separate competitions. There are specifications. National designs were not allowed to change until the end of 2008, unless a monarch dies or abdicates.
National designs have seen some changes due to a new rule stating that national designs should include the name of the issuing country. The common side of the 1c, 2c and 5c coins depict the denomination, the words'EURO CENT' beside it, twelve stars and Europe highlighted on a globe in relation to Asia and Africa in the world; the common side of the 10c, 20c and 50c coins depict the denomination on the right, the words'EURO CENT' underneath it, with twelve stars and the European continent on the left. Coins minted from 1999 to 2006 depicted only the EU15, rather than the entire European continent, on coins minted after 2007; the common side of the €1 and €2 coins depict the denomination on the left, the currency, map of Europe and twelve stars on the right. Coins minted from 1999 to 2006 depicted the EU15, rather than the whole European continent, on coins minted from 2007. All coins have a common reverse side showing how much the coin is worth, with a design by Belgian designer Luc Luycx; the design of the 1c, 2c and 5c coins shows Europe's place in the world as a whole.
The 10c coins and above show either the 15 countries that were the European Union in 2002, or, if minted after 2007, the whole European continent. Coins from Italy, San Marino, the Vatican and Portugal show the new design if minted 2008 or later; the coins symbolise the unity of the EU. On 7 June 2005, the European Council decided that the common side of the 10c to €2 coins should be brought up to date to reflect the enlargement of the EU in 2004; the 1c, 2c and 5c coins show Europe in relation to the rest of the world, therefore they remained unchanged. In 2007, the new design was introduced; the design still retains all elements of the original designs, including the twelve stars, but the map of the fifteen states is replaced by one showing the whole of Europe as a continent, without borders, to stress unity. These coins were not mandatory for existing eurozone members when introduced in 2007, but became so for every member in 2008. Cyprus is shown several hundred kilometres north west of its real position in order to include it on the map.
On the €1 and €2 coins, the island is shown to be directly east of mainland Greece. The original proposal from the European Commission was to include Turkey on the map, but this design was rejected by the Council; the original designs of the 10c, 20c and 50c coins showed the ou