By Charles Morgan for CoinWeek….
The interconnected euro monetary system has led to a number of squabbles, both petty and of great import for the participating Eurozone countries.
While most of the focus rightly has been placed on matters of finance (the intractable Greek debt crisis, for instance), other numismatically-related disagreements between nations pop up from time to time.
One such event recently grabbed headlines in Europe when Belgium scrapped plans to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. The decision was made at the behest of the French government, which felt the commemoration imparted a negative opinion about their country. The event has already been commemorated by the Royal Mint in the United Kingdom, which produced a £5 silver coin for collectors.
Critics of the move criticize both French and Belgian governments for being weak and overly sensitive.
Haymaking aside, the row over whether to commemorate the historic military battle highlights the often-uncomfortable relationship between the European nations, especially given their long and contemptuous history.
So in a whitewashing of history for the sake of national feelings, bye-bye goes the Belgian 2 euro Waterloo commemorative.
It’s too bad that the French weren’t as sympathetic to the victims of Napoleon’s two-decades of continental war as the Belgian government is towards French national pride. For its part, France has issued its own commemorative coin honoring the defeated French Emperor.