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French allow papal image on Euro coins

The 1998 decision to extend use of the euro to European ministates like the Vatican, Monaco and San Marino, waas complicated when French officials resisted having coins with the image of the pope as legal tender in France, to safeguard the separation of church and state.

But the French backed down, and the Italian Treasury announced last week that the image of Pope John Paul II would appear on a limited number of euro coins minted for use in Vatican City.

Until now, the Vatican used Italian lire and minted lire coins with the image of the pope. The Treasury said the Vatican would be allotted an annual maximum of 670,000 euros ($A1,147,892), in coins, an unspecified number of which will bear the pope's likeness.