Normandy to offer a local currency from March

Published:  22 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: Currency, France, Euro
Normandy is planning to stimulate its economy via the introduction of its own currency.

Expats living in five Normandy’s departments will soon have the option of using a dedicated new currency in addition to the euro. By the end of March, Calvados, Manche, Seine-Maritime, Eure and Orne will offer the as yet un-named currency as an alternative to the euro at local establishments and shops which join the scheme. According to the authorities, it’s not being introduced as replacement for the euro but should incentivise shoppers to choose local vendors as well as stimulating the local economy.

Names suggested so far include Viking, Normand, Rollon and Drakkar, with the new currency accessible through smartphone apps allowing purchases in the currency. In addition, the currency won’t increase in worth, see any inflation and have no exchange value.

The introduction of an exclusively Normandy-based regional currency has long been the dream of the present President, Herve Morin, who believes it will add value to the region’s culture and strengthen links between businesses and customers. Uses may include its being paid out as part of shop workers’ salaries as well as being established as entrance tickets for local establishment such as swimming pools.

It may surprise newly-arrived expats living and working in France that the country already has around 40 local currencies, although Normandy is the first to provide am official regional currency. For example, the Basque region’s ‘eusko’ currency, introduced in 2013, is now thriving with around 750,000 in circulation across the region and 750 businesses and shops accepting it from some 300,000 residents.

Normandy is allocating €400,000 as a start-up cost for the new currency, with a partner bank guaranteeing its value up to €100,000. Currency association Monnaie Normande will be responsible for its general management, maintenance and circulation, and the currency will not support exchange with the euro. Expats living in the region haven’t commented as yet, but many may approve its introduction as being positive for local businesses.
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