Should the currency handled everyday by Europeans feature the face of someone investigated for possibly misappropriating large amounts of it? That is the question that three Catalan MEPs have posed to the European Commission, with respect to Spain's former king Juan Carlos I, embroiled in several corruption investigations. Since the image of the ex-king features on one and two euro coins which are used across the euro zone, the MEPs asked the Commission in writing if it considers it appropriate for the euro to portray the image of a person investigated for alleged economic crimes and whether they would consider changing the rules to prevent this situation from being repeated.
The three Junts per Catalunya party MEPs who posed the question - Clara Ponsatí, Carles Puigdemont, and Toni Comín - noted that in November, the Spanish Supreme Court prosecutor announced a third investigation against the former monarch for possible money laundering activities, and that he is already being investigated for alleged illegal use of financially-opaque credit cards and alleged commissions received for a Spanish rail construction contract in Saudi Arabia.
The question also recalls that four months after Juan Carlos fled Spain for his current residence of Abu Dhabi, the former Spanish head of state admitted undeclared income, for which he paid 678,000 euros to the Spanish treasury in an attempt to regularize his tax account.
The explanatory memorandum states that there are two series of one and two euro coins featuring "the effigy of Juan Carlos I", and stresses that in accordance with regulations, "inappropriate" designs for euro coins should be avoided and that other member states may raise objections before their adoption.
Thus, the MEPs ask the Commission to consider if the circulation of euro coins with the representation of Juan Carlos I, a former head of state under investigation for alleged economic crimes, is consistent with the EU values.
Should rules be changed?
They also ask whether the Commission would propose a reform of the regulation to allow member states to raise objections to the designs of euro coins once they are already in circulation. And if, in the light of experience, the Commission considers it appropriate to avoid issuing coins with the image of living personalities.
Hem preguntat a la CE si considera que tenir en circulació monedes d’Euro amb l’efígie de persones investigades per evasió fiscal com Juan Carlos I és coherent amb els valors de la UE. pic.twitter.com/nEg91UuDXf— Junts i Lliures per Europa (@JuntsEU) December 24, 2020
"We asked the EC if it considers that having Euro coins in circulation showing representations of people investigated for tax evasion like Juan Carlos I is consistent with EU values."— Junts i Lliures per Europa