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FAQ on the redesign of euro banknotes

Updated on 30 November 2023

Q1 Why do we need new banknotes?

All central banks regularly upgrade their banknotes or develop new ones to deter counterfeiters. The first series of euro banknotes was introduced over 20 years ago and the second series started entering into circulation in 2013. We are now in the process of developing future euro banknotes. This is an opportunity to make them also more attractive, relatable and inclusive for all Europeans, including people with a visual impairment.

We also want euro banknotes to be as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible, so we are looking at opportunities to reduce their environmental impact.

Q2 Why do we need a new design for the banknotes?

Euro banknotes are a tangible, visible symbol of European unity and it is our responsibility to keep them up to date. As part of a regular development process, 20 years after the introduction of the first euro banknotes, it is time to review their design. In line with the Eurosystem cash strategy we aim to develop attractive euro banknotes that European citizens can identify with.

Q3 Why now? Is this the right time to develop a new banknote series?

It takes several years to develop new banknotes, produce them and get them into circulation throughout the euro area. New banknotes are usually put into circulation every ten to fifteen years to improve security and resilience and stay ahead of counterfeiters. It is important to start the development process early enough to be prepared once a decision is made to launch a new series.

Q4 How does the redesign process for the new banknotes work?

The redesign of euro banknotes consists of two consecutive phases:

  1. Selecting future themes for euro banknotes
    1. We commissioned a study to consult European citizens in focus groups about their views on possible future themes. The results served as input for the subsequent steps.
    2. The ECB’s Governing Council shortlisted seven themes, including six proposals from the Theme Advisory Group (a group of experts nominated by the national central banks of the Eurosystem and appointed by the ECB), and a theme proposed by the Governing Council.
    3. European citizens were given the opportunity to express their preferences on the seven shortlisted themes in a survey conducted by an external research company in all euro area countries as well as in an online survey conducted by the ECB.
    4. The Governing Council then chose two possible themes for future banknotes, taking into account the results of the surveys.
  2. Developing new designs for euro banknotes
    1. Now that the ECB’s Governing Council has selected the possible new themes, work will start on selecting potential motifs and preparing a design competition. Details of the competition will be published on the ECB’s official channels in due course.
    2. European citizens will be given the opportunity to express their opinions on a shortlist of designs.
    3. The Governing Council is expected to decide on the new design in 2026.

For more information have a look at the redesign process webpage.

Q5 Why did you select “European culture” and “Rivers and birds” as the possible themes for future banknotes?

We want to listen to the views of European citizens throughout the redesign process. The themes were therefore selected based on the findings of public surveys (see Q7) and with the help of an independent advisory group.

The results of our latest surveys showed strong support for the themes “European culture”, “Rivers: the waters of life in Europe” and “Birds: free, resilient, inspiring”. In order to reflect the public’s preferences as broadly as possible, the Governing Council decided to combine the nature and environment-related themes into a single theme called “Rivers and birds”. As a result, we are moving to the next phase of the process with two themes: “European culture” and “Rivers and birds”.

Q6 When will we have banknotes with a new design in our pockets?

After the redesign of the euro banknotes is complete, the ECB’s Governing Council will decide when to produce and issue them. It will still take some years after that for the new banknotes to enter into circulation and eventually end up in our pockets.

The different denominations of the current euro banknotes series were introduced gradually over several years. No decision has been made yet on when and how future euro banknotes would be introduced into circulation.

Q7 What is the public’s role in the redesign process?

We invite all euro area citizens to take part in our public surveys. It is very important to us that the decisions taken throughout the process reflect the opinions of the European public.

We started the process with a qualitative survey conducted in the euro area to understand the public’s preferences on the theme of future euro banknotes. Then, in the summer of 2023, we invited the public to take part in our online survey on possible themes. In parallel, we commissioned an external research company to conduct a similar survey aimed at ensuring the best possible representation of the euro area population.

After the selection of motifs and the design competition, we will gauge the public’s preferences on a shortlist of possible designs. This is expected to take place in 2025.

Q8 Will the materials or size of future banknotes change in the redesign process and will new denominations be featured?

Our euro banknotes are printed on cotton-fibre paper, which gives them their special crispness and wear-and-tear resistance. We are constantly exploring ways to improve the lifetime and reduce the environmental footprint of euro banknotes.

We are working on the basis of keeping the current denominations (€5, €10, €20, €50, €100 and €200). The sizes and colours will also most likely remain the same, to facilitate the changeover and limit the costs of adapting banknote handling machines.

Q9 Who will decide on the final theme and designs?

The final decision will be made by the ECB’s Governing Council based on the views of the European public and the input of expert groups. The decisions of the Governing Council will be announced on the ECB’s website throughout the process in due course.

Q10 Will there be consultations with vulnerable groups throughout the redesign process (e.g. people with a visual impairment)?

The ECB and the national central banks of the Eurosystem have regular contact with all stakeholders. Regular consultations with the European Blind Union took place during the development of the current banknote series, have continued since then and will continue throughout the redesign process.