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National sides and issuance of euro coins

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National sides and issuance of euro coins

Euro coins intended for circulation are made up of a side which is common to all States in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), and a national side defined in compliance with common principles. The Commission sends recommendations to the Member States, to be responsible for issuing these coins after approval from the Council of the European Union (EU).


Commission Recommendation 2009/23/EC of 19 December 2008 on common guidelines for the national sides and the issuance of euro coins intended for circulation [Official Journal L 9 of 14.1.2009].


The Commission makes recommendations to Member States participating in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) concerning the issuance of euro coins. These recommendations apply to national sides and edge letterings of both regular and commemorative euro coins intended for circulation.

The common sides of the euro coins bear the name of the currency and the denomination of the coin.

National sides of coins intended for circulation

The national sides bear the name of the State issuing the coin, but do not give an indication of its denomination, or the name of the currency (except in the case of the use of a non-Latin alphabet). The design chosen to decorate the national side is surrounded by the twelve stars of the European flag. This design should not be modified, except in cases where the Head of State referred to on a coin changes. Issuing Member States are, however, allowed to update their national sides of euro coins in order to fully comply with this Recommendation.

The edge lettering of 2-euro coins can bear an indication of the denomination and/or the term euro.

Coins are to be put into circulation at face value. A minor proportion of them, intended for collectors, may be sold at a higher price.

Commemorative 2-euro coins

The design on the national side may be used to commemorate subjects of major national or European relevance. These commemorative coins are also intended for circulation.

When this type of coin is issued, certain rules should be respected:

  • only the 2-euro coin should be used;
  • ceilings established by the State and for the year should limit the volume of coins issued;
  • the total number of commemorative coins should not exceed 0.1 % of the 2-euro coins put into circulation during the previous year in all participating States or alternatively 5 % of the total number of 2-euro coins brought into circulation by the issuing Member State concerned. If a global subject is commemorated, the ceiling may be increased to 2 % of the total number of 2-euro coins in circulation in all participating Member States;
  • the edge lettering should be the same as on regular coins.

Information procedure

The issuing Member State sends designs to the Commission six months before the issue date. The Commission can then ensure that the guidelines contained in this Recommendation have been respected.

If and when the Commission considers that the guidelines of this Recommendation have not been complied with, the financial and economic committee decide whether to approve the design.

Relevant information on euro coin designs will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.


Recommendation 2003/734/EC and Recommendation 2005/491/EC are repealed and replaced by the new Recommendation. They also concerned the modification and bringing into circulation of national sides of euro coins.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - Issues related to the continued issuance of 1 and 2 euro cent coins [COM(2013) 281 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

In this communication, the Commission presents four possible scenarios for the 1 and 2 cent coins, from the status quo to the withdrawal of these coins from circulation, with or without a transition period. The Commission will come forward with the necessary legislative proposals if the stakeholders express a clear preference for one of the scenarios.

Last updated: 05.05.2014