France melts down millions of coins because EU says its stars don’t look right

Paris: France has undergone a significant coin recall, reminting 27 million coins, as it failed to seek European Union (EU) design approval and later discovered the non-compliance of the new pattern.

The Monnaie de Paris, France’s mint, produced 10, 20, and 50 cent coins in November, depicting the EU flag’s stars incorrectly according to the precise requirements of the EU.

EU law permits countries to alter the “national” face of euro coins every 15 years, contingent on approval from the Commission and other eurozone governments, which must be informed with a seven-day window for objections.

In November, France informally contacted the commission before formally requesting design approval, but the mint proceeded without waiting for the EU’s confirmation.

An informal warning from the commission was received, highlighting the design’s non-compliance. The corrected design was formally submitted on December 12, gaining EU endorsement on December 21.

The intended unveiling of the new coins during a visit by France’s Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire to the Monnaie’s Paris headquarters did not materialize.

A blame game has ensued between the Monnaie and the government, with an economy ministry official asserting that the autonomous public company, Monnaie, would bear the cost of reminting, ensuring no burden on the French taxpayer.

While the Monnaie’s head, Marc Schwartz, attributed responsibility to “the French state,” the exact design remains a secret, validated by the commission and proposed by the French government. The design is set to be revealed before spring, according to the French economy ministry.