Malta Adopts the Euro on January 1, 2008

by : Edward Penza

Following intensive preparations by the Maltese governmentas well as a very visible information campaign in Malta and Gozo, the island isset to introduce the Euro on January 1 after the European Union gave the islandthe final green light to adopt the single currency earlier this year.

Significant celebrations are being planned by the NationalEuro Changeover Committee and the Maltese Government on New Year’s Eve inValletta with details expected to be revealed closer to the date.

On January 1, Malta will formally issue euro notes and coinsat the rate of 0.4293 Maltese Lira to the Euro, which corresponds to thecurrent central rate within the EU’s ERM II exchange rate mechanism.

Retailers and traders are already legally obliged to displayprices in both Lm and Euro using the official rate of 0.42 93 Lira to the Euro.

If you are visiting Malta in January, it is good to keep inmind that throughout the month of January consumers can either pay in Euros orin Maltese Lira however the change will always be given back in Euros. As ofFebruary 1, 2008, consumers will only be allowed to pay in Euros as the Maltesecurrency would have been phased out by then.

The Euro notes and coins have already arrived amid tightsecurity around the Central Bank of Malta in Valletta. The process has nowstarted where commercial banks and other financial institutions are beingadequately supplied so that they will be able to handle the changeover smoothlyas of January 1, 2008.

The minting of the new Maltese euro coins was carried out atthe Monnaie de Paris in Bordeaux, France. The process of minting 200 millionpieces took place after test coins have been produced and consultations withthe Central Bank of Malta on the correction of certain aspects of the mintingprocess have been concluded.

As specified in the contract with the Monnaie de Paris, theCentral Bank of Malta has received 196 million coins in eight denominations —1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c and €1 and €2. The value of these coins will bearound €56 million, equivalent to around Lm24 million.

The Malta euro coins have three different national sides:Malta’s coat of arms, the eight-pointed Maltese cross and an image of the altarat the prehistoric temple of Mnajdra. Following suggestions by the EUCommission, the final designs had to be slightly retouched by Maltese artistNoel Galea Bason to make them conform to established guidelines.

The first starter packs with the new coins will be availableto the public in the second week of December. However, they will only have amonetary value as from January 1Computer Technology Articles, 2008.