Saturday, 1 September 2012

At least ECB still has humour

In 1996, then Greek Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou successfully pleaded for euro banknotes to feature the name “euro” in the Greek alphabet, overcoming German protests. According to an account from Ireland’s Ruairi Quinn, then German Finance Minister Theo Waigel told Papantoniou that he’d had “enough trouble in Germany trying to sell this idea of giving up the mark, and now you want me to put funny letters on it as well.” According to Quinn, Waigel added: “It’s all irrelevant, because you’re never going to qualify” anyway.

But Greece did qualify, by fudging the numbers. When the day of reckoning came, Greece's economy imploded.

From Wikipedia: "Inspiration for the € symbol itself came from the Greek epsilon (Є)"

Bloomberg reports:

The European Central Bank is using an image from Greek mythology to improve security on new euro banknotes, four people familiar with the design said, even as Greece’s near bankruptcy fuels a debt crisis that’s threatening the future of the common currency.

Europa, the Phoenician princess abducted by Zeus who gave the continent its name, will replace architectural images as the watermark on the new notes, which the ECB wants to start rolling out next year, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans aren’t public yet.

Phoenician Princess
In Greek mythology, Europa, the beautiful daughter of Phoenician king Agenor and his queen Telephassa, was abducted by Zeus. Taking the form of a white bull, the king of the Greek gods seduced Europa and stole her away to the island of Crete.

So now we have "Europe", "Euro", "Є" (the symbol for the Euro) and the image of Europa on new Euro banknotes, four references to Greece. And that while Greece is nearing bankruptcy and is causing so many of ECB's problems.

At least the ECB doesn't seem to have lost it's sense of humour .....

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