Postcard from... Brussels
The eurozone is getting a new member, and with Latvia’s entry comes a new coin that could rattle around in pockets from the southern shores of Cyprus to the northern reaches of Finland.
At a press conference yesterday in Brussels to mark the nation’s official acceptance as the 18th member of the currency, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis introduced the bloc to Milda, a Latvian maiden whose face will emblazon €1 and €2 coins when they finally hit Europe’s streets on 1 January next year.
While she may be unfamiliar to most Europeans, she means a lot to Latvians, who were polled to find out which figure they wanted on the coins. Her image first appeared on a limited number of silver coins minted in the 1920s and 1930s, before the Red Army arrived in 1940.
“During the Soviet occupation people were storing those coins as a reminder of the independence of Latvia so this design has a strong symbolic meaning in Latvia,” Mr Dombrovskis said.
The choice is particularly apt as the nation’s decision to join the troubled eurozone is in part to strengthen its ties with Europe and reduce its dependency on neighbouring Russia.
Milda will join only a handful of women on euro coins: two of them – like Milda – are symbols rather than historical figures. France has Marianne on its one, two and five cent coins, while some Italian coins feature Venus. Austria, meanwhile, immortalises the 19th-century pacifist Bertha von Suttner on its €2 coin. The Dutch coins currently feature the head of Princess Beatrix, but with her abdication earlier this year they will eventually be replaced with coins bearing the image of her son, King Willem-Alexander.
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...