Belgium defies France with euro coin marking Napoleon defeat

Snigger:

Belgium on Monday began minting €2.50 coins marking the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat of at the Battle of Waterloo, after France forced it to scrap a two-euro coin made for the same purpose.
Paris objected to the new Belgian coin, commemorating the French emperor’s defeat by British and Prussian forces, earlier this year, saying it would create tensions at a time when Europe’s unity is under threat.
Belgium was forced to get scrap about 180,000 two-euro coins that had already been minted after Paris sent a letter saying they could cause an “unfavourable reaction in France”.
But Belgium has managed to skirt the French protests using a rule that allows eurozone countries to unilaterally issue coins if they are in an irregular denomination – in this case, €2.50.

And causing an unfavourable reaction in France. Is this a problem or the point?

31 thoughts on “Belgium defies France with euro coin marking Napoleon defeat”

  1. The Belgians sincerely believe they beat the French at Waterloo (indeed, they have even erected a huge mound topped with a Belgian lion on the battlefield to proclaim this belief) so why shouldn’t they issue a coin?

    They do acknowledge, if pushed, that the UK and Prussia both provided some minor logistical support on the day.

  2. Was there not some hoo ha yonks ago about the Eurostar terminating at Waterloo? Some insult to French pride (that they are for some reason allowed to have but Brits aren’t?)

  3. Was there not some hoo ha yonks ago about the Eurostar terminating at Waterloo? Some insult to French pride (that they are for some reason allowed to have but Brits aren’t?)

    I don’t think so: we Brits found it funny but I don’t think the French cared much, AFAIK. And the decision to move it to St. Pancras was wholly unrelated.

  4. Fair enough, although I suspect this Florent Longuepée was a nobody trying to make a name for himself. I certainly never heard anything about it from the French I know, whereas the Iraq War…well, that was different.

  5. It is said that Churchill specified that his funeral procession should go via Waterloo station, specifically because he knew de Gaulle would have to attend.

  6. Just making up for lost time. Belgium didn’t strike any victory medals in 1815 because the country didn’t exist.

  7. You can get to Waterloo from Waterloo station. Can you get to Austerlitz from the gare d’Austerlitz?

  8. After 200 years, it is time to let things lie and rename Waterloo station. One of the great battles of WWII would be far more suitable, and my suggestion is the navel engagement at Mers el Kebir.

  9. As Mers el Kebir rightly proves, the French Navy only exists to give the Royal Navy something to sink. Even being nominally on the same side, in the same war at the same time is no guarantee of French safety!

  10. The French are happy to celebrate the defeat of the Germans in two world wars but everyone has to walk on egg shells around them when celebrating the defeat of their nutty dictator trying to take over Europe. Never quite understood that.

  11. France didn’t take part in Eurovision in 1974 so we don’t know how they would have voted for ABBA’s ‘Waterloo’. Anyone know if it was a hit in France?

  12. I always think this: 50.705870, 2.884231 street junction in NW Europe sums up the Belgian attitude to France.
    Try putting it into Street View & looking at it from both sides of the road.

  13. Wellington was rather pissed off that the Portuguese wouldn’t send any of their experienced troops to help. Someone should strike an anti-Portugal medallion.

  14. @BiS

    Not sure I get it. There’s a memorial or something right on the border to the north-east.

    Or is it all the shops and restaurants to attract French Soux, whereas there’s little commerce on the French side?

  15. “Belgium was forced to get scrap about 180,000 two-euro coins that had already been minted after Paris sent a letter ….”

    Which side won?

  16. The Euro’s designs have been a battleground since the start. If the EU were really united, the designs on the notes would be of real buildings, not imaginary ones. But we all know real buildings would just start a giant bun-fight over whose architecture gets to go on which note.

    Can anyone imagine this happening with a US commemoration of the Civil War?

  17. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke in france – “You can get to Waterloo from Waterloo station. Can you get to Austerlitz from the gare d’Austerlitz?”

    Hasn’t the Eurostar been moved to St Pancras so you can’t any more? Austerlitz tends to run services to the south. The Gar de l’Est is more likely – it goes to Vienna, Frankfurt and Moscow.

    It is interesting how many French stations are named after French battles. Austerlitz Wagarm and Pyramides are Napoleonic. Pont de l’Alma is Crimean. As is Crimee, Sevastopol and two stations named after Malakoff. I assume Magenta is named after the Italian battle in which the Austrians were defeated by Napoleon III plus some Italians. Giving us a silly colour and the Red Cross. Solferino must be too. They have a Bir Hakeim – a victory in the pacification of Algeria?

    But how about the Pont de Garigliano? The Spanish crushed the French Army there way back in 1500 or so. A defeat is unlikely as an origin but they do have an Alesia – a Roman victory made famous by Asterix.

    It is an unusual lot of battles to commemorate. Not sure they would be my first choices. Presumably it is just a question of when things got built.

    What is unusual is that they have a station named after someone else’s victory, of sorts, Stalingrad. But then the surrender monkeys running France at the time probably thought of it as their victory.

  18. @Andrew K: thats a bit harsh about Mers el Kebir. It wasn’t exactly the Royal Navy’s most glorious moment. A completely understandable action in strategic terms of course, and reasonably well executed (still let one battleship escape) but opening fire on an opponent (who is your ally, and not expecting the attack) who is at anchor in a harbour is hardly the stuff that glorious victories are made of. A bit like shooting fish in a barrel. 1300 men died, who were our allies, so its hardly a cause for celebration.

  19. So Much for Subtlety

    Jim – “opening fire on an opponent (who is your ally, and not expecting the attack) who is at anchor in a harbour is hardly the stuff that glorious victories are made of. A bit like shooting fish in a barrel.”

    Some might say that is what fish in barrels are for. Certainly the Navies of the world have a fondness for this sort of thing. The Japanese made a habit of it. The Americans took the Philippines with an unexpected attack on the Spanish Navy at anchor. Even Nelson savaged the Danes at Copenhagen.

  20. @Abacab
    The Belgians have stuck up a prominent sign to inform you, you’ve escaped The French don’t advertise you’ve returned.

  21. @SMfS
    When I spent time in Paris, Place Stalingrad was a major coach terminus. It had about the same sense grim foreboding as its namesake.

  22. “Venez out and joignre us or we’ll faire couler you at ancre. You’ve une heure to faire your décision”.

    une heure later

    “vous êtes sure, right?”

    silence

    “Give ‘er a broadside, Mr. Bush! (/hornblower)”.

    Terrible it had to be that way.

  23. Jim
    The RN did offer them the chance to scuttle the fleet first, if my reading is correct.

  24. “They have a Bir Hakeim – a victory in the pacification of Algeria?”

    Western desert, 1942. Scene of some very fierce fighting as part of the Gazala battles (fall of Tobruk, retreat to El Alamein position). The Free French were highly complimented by many commentators for their stubborn defence of the box, which made Rommel’s victory much harder.

  25. sackcloth and ashes

    ‘They have a Bir Hakeim – a victory in the pacification of Algeria?’

    Bir Hakeim was an action fought during the Battle of Gazala in May-June 1942, when the 1st Free French Bde fought a defensive action against the Axis forces.

    In all fairness, the French actually fought well, but to hear some accounts you’d think it was the only battle fought in North Africa in WWII.

  26. @ Jim
    An ex-ally, which Churchill thought was about to hand over a fleet to Nazi Germany. The ultimatum offerred a number of options including sailing to Martinique and being left there under the supervision of a neutral power. Admiral Gensoul could and should have sailed to Martinique instead of calling Admiral Sommerville’s bluff when it was not a bluff (and he should have told Darlan the whole truth about the ultimatum, instead of omitting the bit about sailing to America)
    Certainly a regrettable episode in the War but Admiral Gensoul should, like Custer, share the blame.

  27. It wasn’t just the French navy that got duffed up in WWII. An estimated 70,000 French civilians were killed by allied bombings during WWII with more French civilians being killed by allied bombing in support of the D Day landings than were allied soldiers killed by the Germans on D Day.

    Seems that whether we are fighting them or on the same side, we just can’t help killing the French.

  28. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Even when we weren’t duffing them up in Europe we were still being beastly. It has long been a fantasy of mine to find a bar in Québec, station a fast getaway car and driver outside, buy everyone in the bar a drink and then raise a toast, saying, “Messieurs! À Général Wolfe et las Plaines d’Abraham!” followed by a dash for safety.

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