Banknote production and stocks

In April 2001 the ECB’s Governing Council decided that the production of euro banknotes should be decentralised and pooled after the initial cash changeover. Therefore, since 2002 each national central bank of the euro area has been allocated a share of the total annual production of euro banknotes in respect of certain denominations. The respective bank bears the production costs for the share allocated.

In September 2002 the Governing Council decided to establish a Eurosystem Strategic Stock (ESS). This stock is intended for use in exceptional circumstances, i.e. when logistical stocks in the Eurosystem are insufficient to cover an unexpected increase in the demand for banknotes or in the event of a sudden interruption in supply.

The logistical and strategic stocks ensure that any changes in demand for banknotes can be handled at any time by the national central banks, irrespective of whether the demand comes from inside or outside the euro area. The logistical stocks meet the demand for banknotes in normal circumstances in order to

  • replace unfit (poor-quality) banknotes returning from circulation;
  • accommodate an expected increase in circulation;
  • meet seasonal fluctuations in demand; and
  • optimise banknote transportation between central bank branches.

Second series of euro banknotes

The Europa series of euro banknotes is gradually being introduced in the euro area. Four new denominations have so far been issued in this series: the €5, €10, €20 and €50. The €50 banknote started circulating on 4 April 2017.

Do you handle cash as part of your work? See all our information material on euro banknotes.