Statement of Národná banka Slovenska on reports in the media concerning the issuance of the €2 commemorative coin marking the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of the mission of Constantine and Method
In the light of recent reports in the Slovak media concerning a change in the design of the €2 commemorative coin marking the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of the mission of Constantine and Methodius to Great Moravia – due to be issued in May 2013 – Národná banka Slovenska today issues the following statement:
1) Národná banka Slovenska (NBS) plans to issue the coin in accordance with its approved Issue Plan for Commemorative and Collector Coins for the years 2011 to 2015. The decision of NBS to include the coin in the Issue Plan was based on a proposal made by the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic (Pamiatkový úrad SR).
2) Considering the historical and social significance of the mission of Constantine and Methodius, NBS wanted to issue a coin that would bring this motif to the widest possible public in Slovakia and the rest of Europe. The NBS Bank Board therefore decided that the motif would be featured on a €2 commemorative coin, meaning that it would be in circulation throughout the euro area and not only in the Slovak Republic.
NBS sees the issuance of this coin as an important way of bringing the historical significance of Constantine and Methodius to a wider European public.
3) Since the coin is a euro commemorative coin, it is subject to the provision laid down in Article 1i of Council Regulation (EC) 975/98 as amended, according to which Member States are required to inform each other of the draft designs of national sides of euro circulation coins before the formal approval of those designs.
The draft designs of commemorative coins must also be sent to the Council of the European Union (specifically to the Economic and Financial Affairs Council), to the European Commission, and to other Member States whose currency is the euro.
The result of this process for the abovementioned €2 commemorative coin was that the European Commission and certain other Member States asked NBS to remove religious symbols from the draft design (specifically the saints’ halos and the crosses on their pallia). These changes were deemed necessary in order for the designs to comply with the principle of respect for religious diversity, as laid down in Article 22 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (which has the same legal force as the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
4) The NBS Bank Board accepted these requests on the following grounds:
- not to accept the requests would jeopardise the principal objective of the coin, namely to increase awareness throughout the European Union of the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius;
- in other recent cases, similar requests for the modification of coin designs (in order to respect religious diversity) have been accepted;
- the Vatican, too, has in the past accepted requests for the modification of its €2 commemorative coin designs and it did so when the legal regulation of such designs was less strict (the law governing the designs of national sides of euro circulation coins has been significantly stricter since July 2012).
Národná banka Slovenska believes that the design finally approved for the €2 commemorative coin marking the arrival of the mission of Constantine and Methodius to Great Moravia represents a dignified joining of two symbols – the symbol of statehood and the symbol of Christianity. The Slovak double cross on three peaks and the bishop’s crozier held by Methodius are depicted as one and the same.
National Bank of Slovakia
Press and Editorial Section
Imricha Karvasa 1, 813 25 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Tel.: +421-2-5787 2142, +421-2-5865 2142, +421-2-5787 2169, +421-2-5865 2169
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