Europe’s shared banknotes and coins will turn 20 years old in the new year

FRANKFURT, Germany –

The European Central Bank is celebrating 20 years of euro banknotes and coins as member states grapple with the impact of the pandemic on the economy and the European Union builds a new level of financial cooperation. to help promote recovery.

The event was marked at midnight on New Year’s Eve with a display of blue and yellow lights, the colors of the EU, projected over its headquarters skyscraper in Frankfurt, Germany.

The introduction of banknotes and coins in 12 countries on 1 January 2002, was a major logistical undertaking, following the introduction of the euro for accounting purposes and three years of electronic payments. before that, on 1 January 1999. Today, the euro is used in 19 of the 27 EU countries.

The introduction of cash saw the new euro coins and banknotes quickly replacing the German mark, French franc and Italian lire in ATMs, cash registers, wallets and purses. Customers who have paid with the store’s old currency will receive change in euros at a fixed exchange rate. That swept the old coins out of circulation as people used what was left of the nation’s cash.

ECB President Christine Lagarde said in a video message that “the euro has become a signal of stability and solidity around the world, thanks to you hundreds of millions of Europeans have trusted it, already Give it strength, confidence and trade with it every day.”

The bank plans to redesign the banknotes, with a final decision on the new look expected in 2024. Initial designs with windows, doors and common bridges from different eras do not represents any particular place or monument that has undergone a relatively minor update since the Introduction.

The euro has experienced ups and downs since its launch as a major project of European integration. The monetary union faced speculation that it would fall apart during a protracted crisis over government and banking debt between 2011 and 2015. The head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi helped end market turmoil with a promise to “do whatever it takes” on July 26, 2012 to preserve the euro, followed by an offer of the ECB on purchasing government debt from countries facing high borrowing costs.

Under current head Christine Lagarde, the central bank launched a 1.85 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion) bond-buying program to reduce borrowing costs for companies so they can get through the worst phase of the pandemic.

In response to the pandemic, European Union governments have taken a further step towards economic and financial integration by agreeing to borrow money together for the EU’s Next Generation recovery fund. 807 billion euros. The purpose of the fund is to support post-pandemic recovery by funding projects that help the economy reduce carbon dioxide emissions to combat climate change and support increased use of digital technology. .

Ireland’s Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, who heads the Eurogroup panel of finance ministers from member countries, said that the currency “has solidified its foundation over the past 20 years. It has proven itself to be brave. in dealing with major challenges and major crises.”

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