EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Issue of euro coins




  • Regulation (EU) No 651/2012 defines the types of euro coins and lays down the conditions to be respected at coin issue.
  • Regulation (EU) No 729/2014 sets the technical requirements of the euro coins and provides for general rules on their design including design approval.


  • Regulation (EU) No 651/2012 states:
    • governments of euro area countries (countries that have the euro as their currency) may issue circulation coins* and collector coins*;
    • circulation coins are made available at their face value, except for a maximum of 5% which may be put on the market at a higher price because of their special qualities or packaging;
    • national commemorative coins*
      • may only be issued twice a year (unless the design is common to all euro area countries);
      • the total number issued must not be above one of two possible limits, whichever is higher, as a percentage of all 2-euro coins in circulation;
    • collector coins
      • are only legal tender* in the issuing euro area country;
      • must be clearly distinguishable from circulation coins in face value, images and in two of the following: colour, diameter and weight;
    • governments of euro area countries must consult each other before destroying damaged euro coins;
    • the Commission carries out an impact assessment, analysing the real production costs of 1- and 2-cent coins against their value and benefits.
  • Further to Regulation (EU) No 729/2014:
    • there are eight euro coins (1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1 and 2 euro);
    • each coin has a distinctive national and a common European side;
    • national sides must:
      • bear a circle of 12 stars fully surrounding the national design;
      • remain unchanged for 15 years, unless the country’s head of state changes;
      • not show the coin’s value, unless using a different alphabet;
      • comply fully with the regulation by 20 June 2062;
    • commemorative coins must:
      • only have a face value of 2 euros;
      • have a different national design from regular* 2-euro coins;
      • only commemorate subjects of major national or European relevance or
      • commemorate subjects of the highest European relevance if issued collectively throughout the euro area;
    • euro area countries must inform each other and the Commission of any proposed changes to their national designs and submit this to an approval procedure. This allows for objections from
      • a government that believes the design would upset its own public;
      • the Commission, if it considers the design does not respect the legislation’s technical requirements.


  • Regulation (EU) No 651/2012 has applied since 16 August 2012.
  • Regulation (EU) No 729/2014 consolidates former rules regarding coins set when the euro was introduced in 2002 by the Regulation (EC) No 975/98 and successive amendments. It has applied since 22 July 2014.
  • Both Regulations have integrated the elements of the Commission Recommendation 2009/23/EC on common guidelines for the national sides and the issuance of euro coins intended for circulation.


  • Euro coins came into general use in 2002. The eight denominations vary in size, colour and thickness depending on their value and are designed to make any illegal reproduction extremely difficult.
  • For more information, see:


Circulation coins: coins for general public use which are legal tender in all euro area countries.

Collector coins: coins not intended for circulation, which are legal tender only in the euro area country where they are issued.

Commemorative coins: 2-euro circulation coins to commemorate a specific subject of national or European importance.

Legal tender: coins or banknotes that must be accepted in a country if offered in payment of a debt.

Regular coins: circulation coins excluding commemorative coins.


Regulation (EU) No 651/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on the issuance of euro coins (OJ L 201, 27.7.2012, pp. 135–137)

Council Regulation (EU) No 729/2014 of 24 June 2014 on denominations and technical specifications of euro coins intended for circulation (Recast) (OJ L 194, 2.7.2014, pp. 1–7)

last update 04.04.2017