GREAT BRITAIN ADOPTED THE EURO IN 2008
- September 13, 2022
Did you know that? Great Britain adopted the euro in 2008. No, NUMISMAG’s editors did not abuse forbidden products. Great Britain adopted the euro on 01/01/2008, but not on its entire territory. The two territories concerned cover an area of 284 km2 on the island of Cyprus. They are two sovereign military bases belonging to Great Britain. They are called AKROTIRI and DHEKELIA.
In 1960, Cyprus, a former British colony, became independent. The geographical situation of the island meant that England wanted to maintain military installations within reach of the Suez Canal. The AKROTIRI base is one of the largest air bases outside the British mainland.
AKROTIRI air base in the 1970s
These bases are sovereign areas of Great Britain. An administrator of the crown directs them but the laws of the Cypriot republic are partially applied. While 4,000 British soldiers live on the territory of the two bases, 7,000 Cypriots, including many farmers, also live there. The latter have a personal status on the civil level and do not have, for example, “de jure” English citizenship.
Transfer of power of the incoming and outgoing commanders of the AKROTIRI base
As far as currency is concerned, the Cypriot law dedicated to this subject establishes that at the time of independence, only the Cyprus pound is the legal tender on the whole Cypriot territory, including the two sovereign bases of AKROTIRI and DHEKELIA.
This very pragmatic solution was confirmed by a law published in the gazette of the English sovereign bases (a kind of legal announcement newspaper for these two military bases) in 1963.
English Sovereign Bases Area (SBA) Gazette
The Ordinance of 9 December 1963 recognizes the Cyprus pound as legal tender in the territory of the sovereign English bases and the Bank of Cyprus as the Central Bank for the SBA.
Set UNC de la BCL chypriote – millésime 2004
Article 5 of this ordinance establishes the principle for the SBA of the republican currency having legal tender status (Cyprus pound created in 1960). It can extinguish by payment any private or public debt.
Article 5 de l’ordonnance de 1963
On January 1, 2008, the Greek Cypriot Republic adopted the euro as its single currency. The island is divided in two following the partition of the island in 1974 due to the intervention of Turkish troops who landed to protect the Turkish minorities living in Cyprus. The north of the island is occupied by the Turks while the south of the island is an independent Greek republic. The Turkish side uses the Turkish lira. It does not have its own currency.
The Cypriot pound disappears on the whole island, including the two English bases. It is replaced by the euro. Mechanically, the two English bases have as legal tender the euro from 01/01/2008.
Britain has adopted the euro in two sovereign areas that it administers, even though they are not part of the EU. Metropolitan Britain was in the EU but did not adopt the euro…
The situation is even more paradoxical since the Brexit on January 31, 2020 and the exit of Great Britain from the EU. However, the Brexit has not changed anything. To this day, both sovereign bases still have the euro as their legal tender.
Sources: SBA website, Cyprus Central Bank and NUMISMAG.