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Malta Adopts the Euro on January 1, 2008

As of January 1, 2008 the Euro will become legal tender in Malta, the smallest EU member state. Following thorough preparations, the currency is introduced alongside the existing Maltese Lira for the first month of the year, to allow both businesses as well as consumers to adapt to the Euro, before it will become the only accepted currency on the islands of Malta.

Following intensive preparations by the Maltese government as well as a very visible information campaign in Malta and Gozo, the island is set to introduce the Euro on January 1 after the European Union gave the island the final green light to adopt the single currency earlier this year.

Significant celebrations are being planned by the National Euro Changeover Committee and the Maltese Government on New Year’s Eve in Valletta with details expected to be revealed closer to the date.

On January 1, Malta will formally issue euro notes and coins at the rate of 0.4293 Maltese Lira to the Euro, which corresponds to the current central rate within the EU’s ERM II exchange rate mechanism.

Retailers and traders are already legally obliged to display prices in both Lm and Euro using the official rate of 0.42 93 Lira to the Euro.

If you are visiting Malta in January, it is good to keep in mind that throughout the month of January consumers can either pay in Euros or in Maltese Lira however the change will always be given back in Euros. As of February 1, 2008, consumers will only be allowed to pay in Euros as the Maltese currency would have been phased out by then.

The Euro notes and coins have already arrived amid tight security around the Central Bank of Malta in Valletta. The process has now started where commercial banks and other financial institutions are being adequately supplied so that they will be able to handle the changeover smoothly as of January 1, 2008.

The minting of the new Maltese euro coins was carried out at the Monnaie de Paris in Bordeaux, France. The process of minting 200 million pieces took place after test coins have been produced and consultations with the Central Bank of Malta on the correction of certain aspects of the minting process have been concluded.

As specified in the contract with the Monnaie de Paris, the Central Bank of Malta has received 196 million coins in eight denominations — 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c and €1 and €2. The value of these coins will be around €56 million, equivalent to around Lm24 million.

The Malta euro coins have three different national sides: Malta’s coat of arms, the eight-pointed Maltese cross and an image of the altar at the prehistoric temple of Mnajdra. Following suggestions by the EU Commission, the final designs had to be slightly retouched by Maltese artist Noel Galea Bason to make them conform to established guidelines.

The first starter packs with the new coins will be available to the public in the second week of December. However, they will only have a monetary value as from January 1Free Reprint Articles, 2008.

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For more information about Malta, visit the Malta travel guide Find out more about Malta, Maltese people, Maltese culture and various places of interest. The site also offers a selection of articles that give you a great impression of what Malta has to offer and provides info on cheap flights to Malta.

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