…Since members of the eurozone are allowed to produce a limited number of commemorative coins, the Belgians recently minted a 2-euro coin memorializing the 200th anniversary of the battle, which ended Napoleon’s rule in France.
But then the French got wind of it. They protested to European officials, arguing that the coin’s design, which shows a lion perched over a map, “appears prejudicial, in a context where the governments of the eurozone are trying to strengthen unity and cooperation throughout the monetary union.”
With 19 members, the eurozone was supposed to be the leading edge of Europe’s integration efforts. But Europe has a lot of trouble grappling with its largest problems — whether to integrate more tightly or drift apart, for example, or what to do with Greece. Trying to run a currency union without a fiscal union and with 19 financial policy agendas has made for messy governing.
European policy makers do have a knack for obsessing over details. They have regulated the curvature of cucumbers and the jugs used to serve olive oil in restaurants. Now, the pressing issue of Waterloo is being addressed.
Much has changed in the two centuries since Waterloo. One of the main combatants, Prussia, bowed out long ago. And the site of the battle is in a country that did not exist at the time, modern-day Belgium.
In the skirmish over the commemorative euros, the side of Napoleon prevailed. The Belgians were left with 180,000 new coins that had to be destroyed…
The French are still mad 200 years later. Pathetic.