Diffusion of foreign euro coins in France, 2002-2012

Population and Societies

488, April 2012

The circulation of the European currency provides an indicator of the movements and contacts between the different regions of Europe. A series of surveys have been conducted to track the movement of foreign euro coins in France since they were first brought into circulation ten years ago. Claude Grasland, France Guérin-Pace, Marion Le Texier and Bénédicte Garnier present the main survey findings.
Since they were brought into circulation in 2002, euro coins have travelled widely across Europe. The country of issue gives an indirect indication of the movements of the individuals who have carried these coins and of the intensity of international relations. The percentage of foreign euro coins in France rose  from 5% in March 2002 to 34% inDecember 2011, and the proportion is greater for coins with a higher face value (50 cents, 1 or 2 euro), which are more mobile. Distance from the national border is a key factor explaining the domination of Spanish coins in the south-west and of German and Belgian coins in the north-east. Alongside crossborder movements, travel between cities for work purposes and movements of tourists also contribute to the mixing process, as shown by the more diffuse spread of Italian coins across France.

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