In April 1996, The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) met in Verona, Italy to decide on a standard of design specification for the future Euro coins. Unlike the Euro banknotes, which have only one design throughout the EMU, the Euro coins would have different national designs on one side and a common design on the other.
The national designs would be decided on a national level under the auspices of the country’s National Central Bank. Though the national sides were to be designed individually, they had to incorporate the following design elements:
- A ring of the twelve EU stars
- Presence of a clear sign of state
Along with these design elements, a set of standards were implemented to ensure an overall familiarity and common thread between the designs:
- National designs of the Euro coins could not change before 1 January 2009 unless a change in depicted Head of State occurs
- The common currency’s name can not be repeated unless the native language uses a separate alphabet
- The denomination can not be repeated
The common design would be decided by ECOFIN through a series of design competitions. Each of the National Central Banks would contribute designs that met one of three design themes:
- Architecture and decorative style
- The aims and ideals of the European Union
- European identity
Along with these design themes, a single standardisation was implemented:
- Presence of the common currency’s name and denomination
By 13 March 1997, 36 designs were submitted. A group of independent experts in areas of art, coin minting and production, numismatics and design, chaired by the Secretary-General of the European Commission. After consulting with the directors of mints on the feasibility of manufacturing each of the submitted designs, 9 were selected to a short list by vote.
In April and May 1997, a public opinion poll was conducted in all EU countries. The survey would determine the new common face of the Euro coins.
Receiving 64% of the votes was the design submitted by Luc Luycx of the Royal Belgian Mint.