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Euro malta design
The image depicting the baptism of Christ might not make it to the euro coin after all, after the public is surprisingly being invited to take a second bite at the cherry.
The Maltese euro coins, set for introduction in 2008, will carry three different designs - one for the one and two euro coins; one for the 50c, 20c and 10c coins; and one for the five, two and one cent coins.
Last January, the baptism of Christ had garnered the highest number of votes in a public consultation exercise carried out to choose three images from among a number of proposals made by the National Euro Changeover Committee (NECC).
The next most popular were the Mnajdra altar, Malta's coat-of-arms and the Maltese cross.
Speaking during a news conference yesterday, Parliamentary Secretary Tonio Fenech said the process was reopened after the image of the Maltese cross was suggested by over 400 voters, even though it was not included in the original proposals.
However, when asked, he admitted that the Central Bank and the NECC had taken into consideration the controversy that arose after nearly 20 per cent voted for the image of the sculpture of the Baptism of Christ by Giuseppe Mazzuoli, held at St John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta.
While many evidently voted for the image as a way of showing Malta's strong Christian faith, several individuals, including former Gozo bishop Nikol Cauchi and sociologist Charles Tabone, had questioned the implications of having a religious image on a symbol of materialism.
Designer Noel Galea Bason also decided to put the Maltese cross as a background to the baptism of Christ, now clearly showing the significance of the era of the Knights of the Order of St John, according to NECC chairman Joseph Zahra. The public is invited to send an SMS up to June 9. Up to three blank SMSs can be sent from each mobile phone to the number assigned to each coin design. Only one SMS per coin design will be considered valid.
Participants will be taking part in a draw to win one of 20 Air Malta tickets to any of its destinations, or one of a number of mobile phones offered by Go Mobile. Those who vote up to Thursday will also be eligible to win one of 20 tickets for the Sting concert on June 6. Each SMS costs two cents.
Mr Fenech said the Central Bank has already started the tendering process for the minting of the coins. Minting cannot, however, start before the European Commission gives the green light for entry into the eurozone. It is estimated around 206 million coins will need to be minted, the value of which exceeds €58 million.
Central Bank Governor Michael Bonello said the government will know whether it may adopt the euro by June or July 2007, and if so, the banks will only receive the coins a month before the introduction of the euro.
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