Slovaks voting on design of euro coins
14.11.05 @ 17:43
BRUSSELS - Slovak citizens are voting on the country's future eurocoin designs, with a possibility to be the first nation to feature christian symbols on the eurozone's money.
While the euro notes look the same in all the countries with the single currency, design of one side of the coins used in the area is left for individual member states to decide on.
As part of the preparation to join the euro in 2009, the National Bank of Slovakia has shortlisted ten images and presented them to the Slovak public for a week-long vote by phone or text message on Saturday (12 November).
"The result of the vote - to be announced later this week - will have a crucial impact on the formal decision made by the governing board in mid-December," the bank's spokesman Igor Barat told EUobserver.
The shortlisted designs have been published in the national media and on the central bank's website.
Over the two days after the launch of the survey, about 40,000 Slovaks have phoned or sent a message to vote for their preferred image.
In most other eurozone countries, the designs were chosen by the governments, expert boards, or by monarchs - like in Luxembourg or Spain.
Citizens have been directly involved in choosing the national design for eurocoins only in four other EU countries - Italy, Austria, plus the prospective entrants Estonia and Lithuania.
An informal public survey has been launched among the Poles, while Malta is also planning to consult citizens in some form.
All ten "new" EU member states are obliged to join the euro, with the first group of countries (Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia) scheduled for entry in 2007.
Christian symbols popular
Most of the eurozone countries have chosen national symbols to feature on their eurocoins.
In Slovakia, half of the shortlisted designs represent christian symbols, mostly cross (which also features on the national flag) or a virgin Mary with baby Jesus.
If one of these is selected, Slovakia would be the first of the eurozone's member states to use a christian symbol on its euro coins, with the exceptions of Spain and Portugal which have images of famous cathedrals on some of their coins.
In Poland, some citizens have showed support for the best-known Polish personality - the late pope John Paul II - to appear, according to Polish central bank officials.
The former pope is currently portrayed on the Vatican's own eurocoin, with the Holy See joining two other ministates, Monaco and San Marino, in using the single currency.