It is the most prominent representation of France and its ideals of liberty and reason, dating from 1848.
The depiction is young and determined, embodying France's desire for a sound and lasting Europe.
The reverse was designed by Luc Luycx and displays a globe in the bottom right.
The (then 15) members of the EU are lightly highlighted and the northern part of Africa and the western part of Asia (including the Middle East) are shown.
The letters RF (République française), stylised, appear to the right above the year.
The national arms of ireland, an Irish harp (the Cláirseach, see Clàrsach).
This happened in Monaco and the Vatican City, resulting in three new designs in circulation (the Vatican had an interim design until the new Pope was elected).
National designs have seen some changes as new rules required that national designs should include the name of the issuing country: neither Finland and Belgium had shown their name, and so made minor changes.
New designs also have to include the name or initials of the issuing country.
The designers initials, LL, appear to the right of the globe.
The obverse side of the coin depends on the issuing country.
The design of the national sides, then fifteen (eurozone plus Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican who could also mint their own coins) was the subject of national competitions, but was subject to some uniform specifications such as the requirement to include twelve stars (see euro coins for more).
National designs were not allowed to change until the end of 2008, unless a monarch (whose portrait usually appears on the coins) dies or abdicates.