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Saturday, 29 December, 2001, 13:14 GMT
Mini-states gear up for euro
Fort de France, Martinique
Places as far away as Martinique will get the Euro
By Oana Lungescu in Brussels

On New Year's day euro banknotes and coins will be introduced not only in the 12 countries of the European Union, but also in a dozen mini-states, international protectorates and overseas territories.

The euro will be used from Andorra to Kosovo, from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean, making it effectively a world currency.

The euro will see the first dawn not in Europe, but on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

It is one of several French overseas territories to adopt it instead of the franc.

The others are French Guyana in South America, Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean, along with the islands of Mayotte in the Mozambique Channel, and the archipelago of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon off Newfoundland.

Precious cargoes of euro banknotes and coins have already been taken to all these former colonial outposts by French warships and military airplanes.

Numismatic rarity

Vatican
Vatican coins are likely to snapped up by collectors

Within Europe, the mini-states of Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican have even been granted the right to mint their own euro coins, by virtue of their historical links and monetary agreements with France and Italy.

But Vatican coins featuring the smiling face of Pope John Paul II are more likely to be snapped up by collectors than to be used for mundane transactions.

Andorra, the tiny principality wedged between France and Spain, will also adopt the euro.

It has no currency of its own and has traditionally used the franc and the peseta.

Since none of these mini-states are part of the European Union, they will not be represented on the board of the European Central Bank, which controls interest rates in the euro-zone.

But for the European police agency, Europol, the weakest link in the euro chain may be the Balkans.

Europol officials say that gangs of counterfeiters are already planning to use Kosovo and Montenegro, which will switch from the Deutschemark to the euro, to flood the market with fake notes.


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20 Dec 01 | Europe
14 Dec 01 | Business
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