The Europa series of banknotes are being introduced gradually over several years. The four first banknotes in the new series, the €5, €10, €20 and €50, started circulating in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 respectively. The €100 and €200 were unveiled on 17 September 2018 and will start circulating on 28 May 2019. They will complete the issuance of the Europa series.
The ECB has decided to stop producing the €500 banknote, although the first series €500 remains legal tender.
The new banknotes are called the Europa series because two of their security features contain a portrait of Europa. This figure from Greek mythology was included in the new euro banknotes because it has an obvious link to the continent of Europe and also adds a human touch to the banknotes. The image of Europa was taken from a vase in the Louvre in Paris.
The ECB and the national central banks (NCBs) of the Eurosystem are responsible for the integrity of euro banknotes. That’s why they have developed a second series of euro banknotes with enhanced security features which keep the banknotes secure and maintain public confidence in the currency.
The new euro banknotes benefit from advances in banknote technology. The new security features offer better protection against counterfeiting.
The Eurosystem’s research and development strategy states that euro banknotes need to be “self-defending”, thereby making life difficult for counterfeiters. Banks, professional cash handlers and the public need to be able to recognise counterfeit banknotes; they thus help to support the Eurosystem’s anti-counterfeiting strategy.
The new euro banknotes are also more durable than the first series. This means that the banknotes will need to be replaced less frequently, thereby reducing costs and the impact on the environment. That’s important, especially for the €5 and €10 banknotes, as they change hands more often than the other notes.
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. 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.
The ECB makes new banknotes available to the relevant sectors well ahead of their introduction and cooperates closely with all stakeholders under the Eurosystem Partnership Programme in order to support a smooth transition.
However, the owners and manufacturers of banknote equipment are ultimately responsible for adapting their machines to the new notes.