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ECB Surveys Europeans on New Themes for Euro Banknotes

Categories : Cash connects people, Cash is a public good, Cash is a social network, Cash is a symbol of national sovereignty
July 13, 2023
Tags : Banknotes, Design, ECB, Euro
The European Central Bank is preparing the next euro banknote series more than 20 years after the launch of the first banknotes on 1 January 2002. Europeans are invited to express preferences on shortlisted themes in a public survey open until 31 August 2023.
Guillaume Lepecq

Chair, CashEssentials

This post is also available in: Spanish

“We are working on a new series of high-tech banknotes with a view to preventing counterfeiting and reducing environmental impact. We are committed to cash and to ensuring that paying with public money is always an option.” – Fabio Panetta, ECB Executive Board member.

The redesign process started in December 2021, when the European Central Bank (ECB) commissioned market research company Ipsos to conduct qualitative research to provide insights that could help define the new theme. The study concluded that six themes had clear and widespread resonance for participants of all nationalities and age groups, namely nature; monuments and landmarks; portraits; European values; science and progress; and art.

A Theme Advisory Group (TAG) with one expert from each euro area country, drawn from diverse fields such as history, natural and social sciences, the visual arts and technology, has submitted a shortlist of themes to the ECB’s Governing Council.

The seven themes recommended by the TAG are listed below.

Birds: free, resilient, inspiring

Birds know nothing of national borders and symbolise freedom of movement. Their nests remind us of our desire to build places and societies that nurture and protect the future. They remind us that we share our continent with all the lifeforms that sustain our everyday existence.

European culture

Europe’s rich cultural heritage and dynamic cultural and creative sectors strengthen the European identity, forging a shared sense of belonging. Culture promotes common values, inclusion and dialogue in Europe and across the globe. It brings people together.

European values mirrored in nature.

Europe is a living place but also an idea. The European Union is an organisation but also a set of values. The theme highlights the role of European values (human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights) as the building blocks of Europe. It links these values to our respect for nature and the preservation of the environment.

The future is yours.

The ideas and innovations that will shape the future of Europe lie deep within every European. The images created for this theme represent the bearers of the collective imagination through which people will make this shared future. This theme signifies the boundless potential of Europeans.

Hands: together, we build Europe

Hands are familiar to all of us, but no two pairs are the same. Hands built Europe, its physical infrastructure, artistic heritage, and achievements. Hands build, weave, heal, teach, connect and guide us. Hands tell stories of labour, age, relationships, heritage, history, and culture. This theme celebrates the hands that have built Europe and continue to do so daily.

Our Europe, ourselves

We grow up as individuals but also as part of a community through our relationships with one another. We have our own stories and identities, but we also share a common identity as Europeans. This theme evokes the freedom, values and openness of people in Europe.

Rivers: the waters of life in Europe

Europe’s rivers cross borders. They connect us to nature. They represent the ebb and flow of a dynamic, ever-changing continent. They nurture us and remind us of the deep sources of our everyday life, and we must encourage them in turn.

A Public Consultation

The ECB is asking European citizens about their views on the proposed themes. From 10 July until 31 August 2023, everybody in the euro area can respond to a survey on the ECB’s website. In addition, to ensure opinions from across the euro area are equally represented, the ECB has contracted an independent research company to ask a representative sample of people in the euro area the same questions as those in its survey.

“There is a strong link between our single currency and our shared European identity, and our new series of banknotes should emphasise this. We want Europeans to identify with the design of euro banknotes, which is why they will play an active role in selecting the new theme.” – Christine Lagarde, ECB President

Next Steps

Feedback from the public’s opinions on the selected themes will be submitted to the ECB Governing Council to support their decision on the future theme. Once the theme has been chosen, work will start selecting possible motifs and preparing a design contest.

The Governing Council will decide when to produce and issue new euro banknotes when the future designs have been selected.

This post is also available in: Spanish