This was the second time the euro-area members had decided to collectively issue a commemorative coin. The first was in 2007, when the finance ministers of the then thirteen countries agreed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome with a single commemorative coin.
The design of the 2009 commemorative coin was selected among five proposed designs via an online vote, open to EU citizens and residents, which was held in February 2008. 140 000 people took part, with the winning design garnering 41% of the votes cast.
The design is a primitive rendering of a human figure whose arm extends into the euro symbol. It is intended to represent the euro as the latest step in the long history of trade, from prehistoric barter to today's economic and monetary union. It was created by George Stamatopoulos, a sculptor at the Bank of Greece.
The artist's initials, ΓΣ, appear below the euro symbol. The name of the issuing country in the national language(s) appears at the top, while the indication 1999-2009 and the acronym ‘EMU’ (Economic and Monetary Union) translated into the national language(s) appear at the bottom.
Total issuing volume : 86 585 000 coins
Official Journal : C315 10.12.2008, p.8