Croatia abandons euro coin design over plagiarism controversy | Croatia

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Croatia’s National Bank has announced a new tender for the design of the country’s one euro coin after a plagiarism scandal led to the withdrawal of an earlier bid.

Croatia is preparing to adopt the euro in 2023 and last week revealed the winners of a competition whose designs were to be minted in the Balkan country’s new coins.

The controversy centered on a logo featuring a marten standing on a branch that looked strikingly similar to a photo taken by British photographer Iain H Leach, prompting accusations of plagiarism.

The image was meant as an ode to Croatia’s current currency, the kuna, which takes its name from a weasel-like carnivore whose fur was used as currency in the Middle Ages.

After the outcry, the competition winner withdrew his design proposal on Monday, citing an “unpleasant mood created in the media and on social media”.

A few hours later, the National Bank of Croatia announced that it would launch a new call for new models in the coming days.

Leach praised the designer’s decision to withdraw his submission.

“I have no intention of prosecuting anyone. A good decision has been made and for me it’s the end of the story,” he told a Croatian broadcaster.

Other winning designs included pieces featuring the map of Croatia, famous inventor Nikola Tesla and Glagolitic script – the oldest known Slavic alphabet.

Of the 27 EU Member States, 19 now use the euro as their currency.

A Eurobarometer survey in 2021 showed that 61% of Croatians support the changeover to the euro, despite fears that adopting the currency could lead to inflation.

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