The Euro and Scandinavian Philately - February 1999
By Alfred Gruber

EuroThis brief article is intended to alert our readers to the changes philatelic opportunities) taking place overseas with the advent of the European Union and the effects on Scandinavian stamps. Rather than await complete information I thought it beneficial to write about what is being reported.

January 1, 1999 is the starting date for chains of events to come. There will be a brand-new currency in the international monetary system called the euro. The euro becomes the currency of the European Union members participating in the Economic and Monetary Union. The euro will eventually replace national currencies in eleven of the fifteen European Union (EU) countries. The only Scandinavian country currently in the eleven is Finland. The remaining four nations in the EU including Denmark and Sweden may participate in the future. The above is an overview of the general conditions.

At the Second Seminar on "The Euro and Stamps" (June 22, 1998) answers to some of the questions raised at the First Seminar were offered by Michael O'Keefe, Chairman of the Single Currency Working Party for PostEurope. Mr. O'Keefe noted that almost all of the original Euro countries have signified their own stamps will be valid for a period of six months.

Paolo De Rosa, President of the International Federation of Stamp Dealers' Associations, summarized the Second Session by noting the majority of the EU countries will be introducing dual currency stamps on January 1, 1999. Seemingly in disagreement with Mr. O'Keefe, he said existent currency stamps will be valid until 2002. There will be individual country policies for exchanging old stamps for new. With some exceptions stamps from all member countries will be valued exclusively in the Euro currency from 2002 on. Euro coins

There no doubt will be further information.

What does this mean for Scandinavian stamp collectors? There are now fifteen full members in the European Union including Scandinavia excepting Norway and Iceland. Denmark and Sweden are permitted to "opt out" of a common currency by 1999. It appears then that only Finland will be issuing euro or dual currency stamps in 1999; Denmark and Sweden later perhaps. Or possibly some countries with large stamp stocks will resort to the time honored method of revaluation by overprinting.

Satellite postal entities like Greenland, the Faroes and Åland will probably be directly tied into their principals, Denmark and Finland.

Change always produces opportunities. There is a lot of postal history in the making and new areas to explore. Savor it.

Most of the above is gleaned from Mekeel's & Stamps MAGAZINE of September 25, 1998, page 17, and the 1998 World Almanac.



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