Happy Birthday to Euro
First introduced as physical cash to 12 European countries in January 2002, the Euro is now celebrating its twentieth birthday as the currency of 19 EU countries and over 340 million people.
As of November 2021, the European Central Bank reported there were over 27.6 billion euro banknotes circulating with a combined value of 1,519 billion euros. Additionally, some 141 billion coins—worth around 31 billion euros—were in circulation, passing daily through wallets, cash registers and pockets across Europe. In fact, despite a rise in digital payment options, cash demand has risen sharply since the pandemic began.
One possible explanation [for higher cash demand] is that during the crisis people turned to cash as a tool to manage uncertainty. Faster digitalisation does not spell the end for cash any time soon.
Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, marked the birthday celebrations with a blog in which she observes the euro has helped countries unite as Europeans. She cites a Eurobarometer survey that asked people what the European Union meant to them, with 41 percent saying they thought immediately of the euro. Overall, it was second only to freedom of movement.
She also looks ahead to the future of the euro. It is now undergoing its first redesign, to benefit from cutting-edge security measures and implement fresh designs that will represent the modern EU, showcasing its culture and values to the world while continuing to symbolise a strong union of nations.
We will now be redesigning our banknotes for the first time, keeping them safe and innovative while updating them to be more relatable to Europeans of all ages and backgrounds.