Money Makeover: Euro Banknotes Are Getting a New Design

Soon, if someone hands you a 20-Euro note and it doesn't look quite right, it might not be a counterfeit.

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The European Central Bank announced plans to redesign Euro banknotes and is counting on European citizens to help get the job done. The final decision on the new look is expected in 2024.

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"Euro banknotes are here to stay. They are a tangible and visible symbol that we stand together in Europe, particularly in times of crisis, and there is still a strong demand for them," ECB President Christine Lagarde said in a statement. The currency was introduced in 1999 and banknotes launched in 2002. The current banknotes are based on an "ages and styles" theme that is represented by windows, doorways and bridges.

He went on, "After 20 years, it's time to review the look of our banknotes to make them more relatable to Europeans of all ages and backgrounds."

The redesign process will kick off with the creation of focus groups, which will gather opinions from European citizens on possible themes. Next, a theme advisory group with an expert from each euro-area country will submit a themes shortlist to the ECB's Governing Council. The members of the advisory group come from fields like history, natural and social sciences, the visual arts and technology. The advisory group is already composed of representatives from the Netherlands, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Slovenia, Germany, Finland, Lithuania, Spain, Luxembourg, Austria, Slovakia, France, Belgium and Estonia. The representative from Malta is still pending nomination.

The public will be given the chance to provide input on the shortlisted themes. After a design competition, the ECB will consult the public one more time before the Governing Council makes its decision.

In 2019, cash was the most popular form of payment for in-person retail transactions, according to the latest study on the payment attitudes of consumers in the euro area. The redesign represents a commitment by the Governing Council to make sure banknotes are innovative and secure, but also "connect with Europeans," according to the ECB's release.

"We want to develop euro banknotes that European citizens can identify with and will be proud to use as their money. The process to redesign the euro banknotes will run in parallel with our investigation on a digital euro. Both projects aim to fulfil our mandate of providing safe and secure money to Europeans," ECB Executive Board member Fabio Panetta said.