Irish

Tuesday 29 July 2014

ECB rules out plastic money for now as new €10 note is unveiled

Colm Kelpie

Published 14/01/2014|02:30

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A combination of pictures shows oversized copies of newly unveiled 10 euro note at the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, January 13, 2014.  REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS)
Newly unveiled 10 euro note

THE EUROPEAN Central Bank yesterday unveiled its new version of the €10 note, which we'll all be able to use come September 23.

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The Frankfurt-based bank is gradually phasing in a new series of notes all featuring the Greek mythological figure for which the continent is named after -- Europa.

She will appear in the hologram and the watermark just like the new €5 note.

Other than that, you won't really notice that much of a change. But the notes are more durable and less susceptible to counterfeiting. They will also remain paper.

Plastic notes were first adopted by Australia in 1988 and are now used in over 20 countries, with Britain due to make the shift in 2016 and become the largest economy to use them. But the ECB will continue to make euro notes from cotton-based paper.

"We have seen with great interest what the Bank of England does and also what other central banks have been doing around the world, and we are studying their experiences," said ECB executive board member Yves Mersch, as he unveiled the new design yesterday.

"The outcome of our studies was that we would remain with . . . the current series," he said.

Mr Mersch said the redesign was also aimed at building trust in the single currency again.

"Twelve years after the euro banknotes and coins were introduced, it's easy for us to take them for granted and to forget what an ambitious, even bold, project it was to introduce the euro.

"The single currency has helped to bring millions of Europeans together, in all our diversity, and the banknotes and coins are a tangible symbol of our determination to support the European Union.

"One of the main reasons for introducing a new series of notes is to ensure that everyone who uses them can continue to do so with complete confidence."

In addition to the portrait of Europa in the hologram and the watermark, the notes include an emerald number, which changes colour from emerald green to deep blue when tilted.

The €5 and €10 banknotes are more durable as they have a protective coating. This means that the banknotes will need to be replaced less frequently, thus lowering costs and reducing the impact on the environment.

Over time, the Eurosystem will gradually upgrade all the euro banknotes in ascending order.

The ECB also said that the number of counterfeit euro banknotes withdrawn from circulation in the second half of last year rose by 11.4pc, from the first half, to 353,000.

It was the highest level since late 2010, although with 15 billion banknotes in circulation the number of fakes remains very low in percentage terms.

The new €10 banknote would help it stay ahead of counterfeiters, the ECB said. The €20 and €50 notes remain counterfeiters' favourites, however, accounting for more than three-quarters of fake bills.

Mr Mersch also defended the €500-euro banknote, one of the highest value singled notes of any currency, fending off suggestions that its existence could increase the size of the black market.

"It is obvious that . . . criminals prefer big German cars. That is no reason to forbid the production of those cars," he said.

Irish Independent

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