Towards an abolition of the coins of one and two euro cents?

Do small copper coins still have a meaning, at the time of generalized digital payment? On Monday, the European Commission announced the launch of an assessment and a “impact analysisOn the use of 1 and 2 cent coins. This study, announced in the Union’s work program, falls within the framework of the rules governing the member countries of the euro zone: the latter urge Brussels to review “periodically the use of different denominations of euro coins in terms of cost and public acceptability».

In detail, the consultation will be open and accessible to citizens. It will last fifteen weeks. Objective of the process: to understand if these pieces which clutter the pockets of some but make others happy still have a role to play, or if they have had their day. On the strength of the feedback from its research, the Commission will have to decide, by the end of next year, whether it should introduce “Uniform rounding rules for cash payments in the euro area“: If necessary, a rule would be voted for”round cash payments to the nearest five cents», In order to avoid having to resort to these small parts. “This could lead to the phasing out of the 1 and 2 cent coins», Specifies the Brussels executive.

The possibility of removing these coins was brought forward very quickly, just a few years after their introduction. Several Member States – Belgium in 2014, Ireland in 2015, the Finland in 2002 or the Netherlands in 2004 – have already chosen to round cash payments, to the nearest five cents, in order to ban these coins.

In 2018, Brussels had published a report highlighting the “high production and processing costs“Of these two pieces, and on their”significant loss»By users. “Typically, consumers receive more pennies and two cents than they spend.», Noted the document. In addition, “the vast majority of citizens in the euro area are in favorTo the removal of those pieces, the report noted, citing a poll.

However, a modification cannot be taken lightly. First, the 1 and 2 cent coins are still very numerous: at the end of 2017, they represented almost half of the coins issued in the entire euro zone. “Statistically speaking, every citizen of the euro zone owns 181 of these coins», Underlined the Commission. In addition, European citizens fear that prices will increase, if these coins are removed and a general rounding rule is introduced. The consultation carried out by the Commission from this Monday will notably update the conclusions of this report and should provide some answers to the questions put by the European executive.

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