Ten years after the conclusion of the Maastricht Treaty, and three years after the entering into force of European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the euro is about to enter a new stage: with the issuance of 17 billion notes and 56 billion coins the virtual euro will become visible, tangible and hence “real”. This transition has, firstly, a logistic dimension. The notes and coins must be distributed safely from the national central banks to the financial institutions and further on to retail stores, restaurants, post offices, public transport, petrol stations, theatres and cinemas, and finally to the consumer. In reverse, the national monies, now obsolete, must find their way back to the storehouses of the central banks to be annulled and recycled. At the same time price tags have to be rewritten (and prices adjusted), vending machines and cash registers adapted, and sales personnel trained. These mainly technical tasks are well under way.
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