CULTURE

The euro is in the limelight as 12 European nations bid farewell to their national currencies

It is the euro rather than people that is in the headlines. It is a moving moment as 12 European countries bid farewell to their national currencies. The oldest of all these currencies is the Greek drachma with the image of Glafka the Athenian, commemorated on the euro coin. Both it and the two-euro coin – with its image of the legendary Europa, the daughter of Phoenix and Telefas, abducted by Zeus in the form of a bull – are reminders of the origin of Europe. In all these images the Greek Europa looks very happy astride her bull. Let’s hope the same will apply to the euro that has abducted the historic drachma and transformed it into a European currency. The pictures on the right are collector’s editions of telephone cards which OTE printed to help familiarize Greeks and other residents and visitors with the euro. Each 1,000-drachma telecard is worth 2.93 euros and is valid up until March 11, 2002. Yesterday, senior ministry officials said the matter should be settled to the taxpayers’ satisfaction before February. Sources said the government’s final decision on the matter would depend on a series of anticipated appeals by municipal authorities.