The Bank of France will buy 100 million euro 0.50-cent coins from the Bank of Spain, French Ministry of Economy and Finance announced Friday.
The demand from French businesses for the 50-cent euro coins increased sharply weeks ahead of the full circulation of the European common currency on the coming New Year's Day. Spain is producing a large number of euro coins of this denomination, said the ministry.
"This sale to France is exceptional. It involves 100 million coins of 50 cents to ensure the fluidity of exchange during the franc-euro switchover period," said the ministry.
With the Spanish imported coins, the French people will see the 50-cent euro coins with on one side bearing the common euro design, and on the other, the portrait of Cervantes, author of Don Quixote instead of the portrait of a sower, the traditional French design of franc coins which is also on many euro coins minted by France.
The shortage of euro coins in France came following a strike in the Mint of Pessac in the southwest of the country, the only French mint in charge of the minting euro coins.
The strike has caused a delay in the production of about 80 to 90 million coins of all values, according to the factory's labor union.