an area of the map for world news.
New Currency Brings Fears of Widespread Forgery
Dutch Euros Snatched
as Forgers Get to Work on New Currency
Ian Black, The
Guardian (liberal), London, England, Nov. 15, 2001.
Europe's countdown to a single currency has hit
a new snag with the first big theft of euros in the Netherlands,
just six weeks before billions of new banknotes and coins go
Dutch officials confirmed that €250,000 (£152,000)
was snatched by a masked man from a bank in Amstelveen, near
Amsterdam, shortly after a consignment was delivered on Nov.
The robbery followed the arrest of a German man for allegedly
stealing €1.2m from his own armored truck: the biggest
known theft so far of the new currency. That was probably the
origin of the €5 note used to pay for two bags of fish
bait in an angling equipment shop in Venlo, in the Netherlands,
at the end of September.
Five previous robberies in recent months, two in Italy and three
in Germany, have also been recorded.
"Mini kits" of the new coins are to be sold from the
middle of next month [December] in the 12 eurozone countries,
but despite protests by consumer groups, the European central
bank has refused to release any banknotes to the general public
before they become legal tender on January 1.
Europol, the EU's fledgling police agency, has warned that counterfeiters
may be equipping themselves to print fake euro notes to take
advantage of people's unfamiliarity with them.
It says a run on specialised ink and paper seems to indicate
that international criminal groups are gearing up for their
Some fakes have turned up but none has been professional enough
to pass for the real thing, which is replete with sophisticated
The good news is that most Europeans at least are aware that
the euro is coming: A European Commission poll published on
Monday found only 6 percent of eurozone citizens do not know
the exact date when the new banknotes and coins come into use.
Nostalgia for disappearing national currencies is growing. An
Italian group called the Third Millennium Celebrations Committee
plans to build a giant lira monument out of the old coins.
Opinion polls suggest that most Italians are pleased about the
birth of the euro, though a parliamentary report published yesterday
showed that many were still bewildered by it, and that about
half the country would have difficulty giving the conversion
rate: one euro to 1,936.27 lire.