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Vatican moves a step closer to the Euro
    The Vatican has signed an agreement with Italy paving the way for it to start using euros from the beginning of next year in conjunction with Italy.
    "The convention established the right of the Vatican to use the euro as its own official money," Vatican chief spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.
    "The Vatican will follow the same calendar as the Italian Republic for the introduction of bank notes and euro coins."
    The agreement was signed by Papal Foreign Minister Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran and his Italian counterpart Lamberto Dini.
    Like all euro-zone states, the Vatican will have the right to chose symbols of its own to appear on its euro coins. The Holy See has not revealed its choice but a profile of Pope John Paul seems likely to appear on the first Vatican euros circulated from 1 January 2002.
    The Vatican's bank, the Instituto di Opere di Religione, has long since been tied to the Bank of Italy which has issued lire coins bearing the Pope's head. The responsibility for coin issuance will remain with Italy.
   
NGR
   
4-Jan-01