Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you all for coming here today to the opening of the ECB’s “New Face of the Euro” exhibition. And a special “thank you” to the Deutsche Bundesbank for hosting this event with the participation of the Banque de France.
It feels very appropriate to be in a border city like Saarbrücken, at the heart of Europe, to open an exhibition like this, dedicated to our single currency. The people of this city, with its long and eventful history, must be among those who best understand the ambitious vision to bring the nations of Europe closer together. Indeed, it was through the creation of a common market for coal and steel between six European countries that the first real step was taken towards the establishment of the European Union as we know it today and that led to the creation of the euro 15 years ago. Today, the euro helps to unite 334 million people in 18 different countries.
Allow me to say a brief word about the exhibition you have come to see. “The New Face of the Euro” is a travelling exhibition which has already been to a number of cities in the euro area. It aims to help people find out more about the notes and coins they use every day.
On this occasion, though, there’s something new. The highlight today is the brand new ten euro note. It’s the first time it has been on public display since it was unveiled to the media just two days ago at the ECB in Frankfurt. That means you’ll be one of the first to see this new note before it starts circulating on 23 September this year.
The new ten euro is part of what we call the Europa series of banknotes. It’s named after the figure from Greek mythology whose portrait is included in the hologram and the watermark on the notes. Take a closer look at those two security features in the exhibition, as well as the distinctive emerald number, which changes colour from green to deep blue when you tilt the note. They’re all examples of how we have used advanced technologies to make the notes even more secure. The security features will keep us well ahead of counterfeiters – and justify the confidence that the people of the euro area have in their money.
There’s a lot more to be seen in this exhibition, which I hope you will all find as interesting and entertaining as I did. So without further ado, allow me to declare it open.