Angry reactions as France tries to ban Belgian Waterloo coin
France has launched a protest against a special coin that Belgium plans to launch for the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
France says it would be wrong to launch the coin and demands that Belgium scrap the whole project. However, at the same time, critics point out that France is selling historic Waterloo coins themselves.
The Finance Department of the National Union of Public Services (NUOD) in Belgium - which is responsible for the coin - released a press report this morning, announcing that the 'Monnaie de Paris' is blocking a special two-euro coin to remember the Battle of Waterloo of 18 June 1815 (where the French troops of Napoleon Bonaparte suffered heavy losses and lost the war). The NUOD adds that the French exerted pressure via the European institutions.
Apparently, France sent a letter to the European Council labelling the coin as a symbol that is negative for a fraction of the European population, claiming it would undermine the unity of the eurozone, Britain's The Telegraph wrote. Putting the coins in circulation "could trigger hostile reactions in France".
"The Battle of Waterloo is an event with particular resonance in the collective conscience, which goes beyond a simple military conflict", the letter states.
"The circulation of coins carrying a symbol that is negative for a fraction of the European population to us appears prejudicial, in a context where the governments of the Eurozone are trying to strengthen unity and co-operation throughout the monetary union."
Angry reactions in Belgium
The French attempts have sparked anger and fury among the NUOD that is launching the coin. Spokeswoman Manuela Wintermans told the VRT that "the Belgian Royal Munt has already manufactured 180,000 coins. They are ready to be distributed. It would be irresponsible to destroy these now, not to mention the costs that have already been made." The NUOD claims in its press report that the whole cost for the project is estimated at 2.45 million euros.
Still according to the NUOD, the Belgian authorities have given in to French pressure and decided not to launch the coin, but this could not be confirmed by official sources. Francis Adyns, spokesman for the Federal Finance Department 'FOD Financiën' is expected to make an official statement on the matter later today.
French are doing the same
Members of the NUOD have launched a campaign to counter the French, accusing them of similar practices. They spread photos via social media to prove that the French 'Monnaie de Paris' is also vending coins related to the Battle of Waterloo. (photo below) The coins that can be acquired there, are not official euro coins but just souvenir coins "but it's the same principle", critics add.