Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Reshuffle and a televised act of contrition

Read more

THE DEBATE

Macron malaise: Can the French president reverse his plummeting popularity?

Read more

ENCORE!

Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy on the red carpet in Paris

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

The dictator hunter: Reed Brody on bringing despots to justice

Read more

FOCUS

France explores alternatives to prison

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Blind support or strategic move? Australia mulls embassy move to Jerusalem

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

'Personal computing would not have existed without him': Paul Allen dies aged 65

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Fatal flooding in France

Read more

THE DEBATE

Saudi Arabia under pressure: Crown prince defiant over Khashoggi disappearance

Read more

Europe

Belgium mints Waterloo coins despite French protests

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-06-10

Belgium on Monday began minting €2.50 coins to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo after France forced it to scrap a planned €2 coin to commemorate the battle, warning that it could provoke an "unfavourable reaction".

Earlier this year, Paris objected to the minting of a coin in memory of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s final defeat to British and Prussian forces, saying it would create tensions at a time when Europe's unity was under threat.

Belgium was forced to get rid of all 180,000 of the €2 coins that had already been minted after Paris sent a letter saying they could cause an "unfavourable reaction in France".

But Belgium this week sidestepped the French protests by using a rule that allows eurozone countries to issue coins unilaterally if they are an irregular denomination – in this case, €2.50.

Napoleon Bonaparte was forced into exile after his grand European ambitions were crushed by the Duke of Wellington's forces at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815, which took place on what is now the outskirts of Brussels.

France said in its initial letter to Belgium that the battle "has a particular resonance in the collective consciousness that goes beyond a simple military conflict".

But Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt said the new coins – of which there will be 70,000 – were not being released in a deliberate bid to upset the French.

"The goal is not to revive old quarrels. In a modern Europe, there are more important things to sort out," he said on Monday.

"But there's been no battle in recent history as important as Waterloo, or indeed one that captures the imagination in the same way."

The €2.50 coins will be usable in Belgian shops, but collectors are expected to snap up many of them. Sold in special plastic bags priced at €6, they show the Lion's Mound monument that stands at the battlefield site as well as lines indicating the positions of the troops.

Several thousand copies of a specially minted silver coin – with a face value of €10 but sold at €40 – will also be released.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2015-06-10

  • FRANCE

    'Napoleon' lands in southern France as part of anniversary re-enacment

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France defeats Belgian-designed coin commemorating Waterloo

    Read more

  • HISTORY

    Napoleon's hat fetches 1.8 million euros at Paris auction

    Read more

COMMENT(S)