The European Commission is considering proposing a law to start phasing out the small 1 and 2 Eurocent coins, and round prices off to the nearest 5 cents.
On Monday, the Commission opened a 15-week public consultation on the use of the small coins, during which both regular citizens and interested institutions are invited to share their opinions and suggestions on the issue.
The EU will carry out an analysis and an “impact study” on the use of these small coins, taking into account these opinions and suggested into account, among other things.
On this basis, it will consider the possibility of proposing new legislation at the end of next year, introducing uniform EU-wide rules for rounding cash payments to the nearest 5 cents. Such a rule could then lead to the phasing out of 1 and 2 Eurocent coins.
The commission “will carefully study the economic, environmental and social consequences of introducing uniform rounding rules,” it said on Monday.
In Belgium, shops have been obliged to round up or down the total amount of purchases to the nearest 5 cents if the client pays in cash since December 2019. However, paying with 1 and 2 cent coins is still possible.
According to the Federal Public Economy Service, these coins are expensive to make, and often accumulate in people’s homes without being used. The measure, therefore, aims to reduce the number of 1 and 2 cent coins in circulation in the country.