Europa series of euro banknotes
The Europa series banknotes are being introduced gradually over several years, in ascending order. The four first banknotes in the new series, the €5, €10, €20 and €50, started circulating in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 respectively. The new €50 banknote started circulating on 4 April 2017.
Why new banknotes?
The ECB and the national central banks (NCBs) of the Eurosystem are responsible for the integrity of euro banknotes. So they have developed a second series of euro banknotes with enhanced security features which will help to make the banknotes even more secure and maintain public confidence in the currency.
The new banknotes are called the Europa series because two of their security features contain a portrait of Europa – a figure from Greek mythology and the origin of the name of our continent.
Keeping ahead of counterfeiters
The new euro banknotes benefit from advances in banknote technology. The new security features offer better protection against counterfeiting and make the banknotes even more secure.
The Eurosystem’s research and development strategy states that euro banknotes need to be “self-defending”, thereby making life difficult for counterfeiters. Credit institutions, professional cash handlers and the public need to be able to recognise counterfeit banknotes and thus help to support the Eurosystem’s anti-counterfeiting strategy.
Tough and longer lasting
The new euro banknotes will be more durable than the first series. They will not need to be replaced as quickly. That’s important, especially for the €5 banknote, as it is subject to a lot of wear and tear. Its longer life will also reduce the new banknote's environmental impact.
Banknotes are highly sophisticated products; it takes years of research and development to produce new ones.
The ECB has decided to permanently stop producing the €500 banknote and to exclude it from the Europa series. The other denominations remain unchanged: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100 and €200.
The new banknotes represent an evolution. They still feature the "ages and styles" design of the first series and show the same dominant colours, but have been slightly modified to accommodate the enhanced security features. This also makes them easy to distinguish from the first series.
The first two denominations of the Europa series to be issued were the €5 and €10 banknotes. As both denominations change hands frequently since they are often used for change, they have a thin protective coating to make them more durable. This means that the banknotes will need to be replaced less frequently, thereby reducing the cost and the impact on the environment. Given different usage, the other denominations of the Europa series, including the new €50 banknote, do not need the protective coating.
Parallel circulation of banknotes of the first series and of the Europa series
The first series of euro banknotes will continue to be issued alongside the Europa series of notes until the remaining stocks have been used up. They will then be gradually phased out.
Banknotes of the first series will always retain their value
The date when the first series of euro banknotes ceases to be legal tender will be announced well in advance. However, the banknotes of the first series will always retain their value: they can be exchanged for an unlimited period of time at the Eurosystem NCBs.
Preparing for new banknotes
The ECB makes new banknotes available to the industry well ahead of their launch and cooperates closely with all relevant stakeholders under the Eurosystem Partnership Programme in order to support a smooth transition.
However, it is the owners of banknote equipment who are ultimately responsible for adapting it for the new notes.