31 May 2006

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Business Today

Public invited to choose final designs of Malta’s euro coin set

The Central Bank of Malta and the National Euro Changeover Committee (NECC) have launched the final public consultation process for the selection of the designs for the national side of Malta’s euro coin set. The public will be choosing three out of four designs produced by coin designer Noel Galea Bason.
The designs are based on the themes chosen by the public in an earlier consultation process held in January. Three of the designs - the Statute of the Baptism of Christ, Malta’s Coat of Arms and the Mnajdra Temple Altar - were chosen from the twelve themes presented to the public. The fourth design, that of the Maltese eight-pointed Cross, was also considered after it received the highest number of votes from the public as an alternative to the 12 themes presented in the consultation process. The three designs that receive the highest number of votes will feature on the national side of Malta’s euro coins.
The public is being invited to participate once again between 29 May and 9 June. Up to three blank SMSs can be sent from each mobile number to the number assigned to each coin design. Only one SMS per coin design will be considered valid.
Parliamentary Secretary Tonio Fenech, who is also the chairman of the Steering Committee for the adoption of the euro, said: “The Government feels the people of Malta should participate in this process. This is a unique moment and we owe it to the people to have the final say in this historic process.” The Parliamentary Secretary also said that the Central Bank of Malta has already initiated the tendering process for the minting of the coins. Minting cannot, however, start before the green light for entry into the eurozone is given by the Commission. This could happen around June 2007. “It is estimated that around 206 million coins would need to be minted within a three-month period the value of which will exceed €58 million.”
Addressing a press conference at the Central Bank of Malta, together with the Governor, Michael C Bonello, and the Chairman of the NECC, Joseph F.X. Zahra, Mr Fenech appealed to the public to participate in this process: “The participation in the first consultation process was significant with over 17,000 valid votes. I believe it was healthy that there was a national debate on the designs to appear on our coins during and after the first phase of the consultation process. Now it is time for people to make a final decision on the actual appearance of the Maltese coin set.”
Participants in this consultation process will be taking part in a prize draw to win one of 20 Air Malta tickets to any of its destinations, or one among a number of mobile phones offered by Go Mobile. People who vote up to 1 June will be eligible to win one of 20 tickets for the Sting Concert to be held on June 6. The charge for an SMS is 2 cents.
As in the case of several other EU Member States, the Maltese euro coins will have three different designs: one for the one and two euro coins; one for the fifty, twenty and ten cent coins; and one for the five, two and one cent coins. Mr Fenech said it was important for the public to take ownership of this consultation process: “In a sense, we have an opportunity to brand Malta through our euro coin set since the images on the coins will circulate in other European Union Member States and beyond.”
Further information on the national consultation process can be obtained from the websites of the Central Bank of Malta: www.centralbankmalta.com or the NECC website: www.euro.gov.mt. The public will also be informed through an information campaign for the duration of the consultation period.

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