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Selection and further development of the euro banknotes designs

10 July 1997

As part of its responsibility for preparing for the start of Stage Three of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the EMI has developed the designs for the seven denominations in the euro banknote series (EURO 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500).

The designs released in July 1997 represent updated versions of the design sketches selected by the EMI Council in December 1996. For security reasons, the illustrations of the designs which are now available do not show all the details and security features that will ultimately be incorporated into the euro banknotes. The final banknote designs will thus differ from these sketches in several important respects.


The initial design sketches were selected in eight steps:

  • in 1995 the EMI Council selected two themes for the euro banknote series;
  • in January 1996 the EMI Council agreed on a detailed technical specification, which included a wide range of advanced security features and features to make the banknotes user-friendly to the blind and partially sighted;
  • a design competition was launched on 12 February 1996; it closed on 13 September 1996;
  • the whole appraisal and selection process was organised on an anonymous and unattributed basis;
  • a shortlist of the designs was produced by a group of independent experts ("the jury") acting in an advisory capacity;
  • public perception was tested by means of individual interviews conducted with approximately 2,000 people across the European Union;
  • In December 1996 the EMI Council selected sketches drafted by Mr. Robert Kalina from the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, taking into consideration the report submitted by the jury, the results of the public consultation exercise and the technical advice given by the EMI's Banknote Working Group; (1)
  • following further work with the designer to improve his design sketches, the EMI Council endorsed the designs in June 1997.


Between December 1996 and June 1997 the EMI developed the design sketches into the final designs. This included working closely with the designer to facilitate banknote production and to ensure that all the requirements were met, for example the avoidance of any national bias and the incorporation of security features. In June 1997 the EMI Council endorsed the revised designs.


On the basis of the updated designs developed for the seven denominations in the euro banknote series, the EMI has started work on converting the designs into printable banknotes.

In 1998 the Governing Council of the ECB will decide on the final designs and launch the printing of the euro banknotes. The exact date on which the banknotes will be put into circulation will be announced before 1 January 1999.

(1) The EMI's Working Group on Printing and Issuing a European Banknote is composed of the Chief Cashiers of the national central banks and the General Managers of printing works owned by central banks within the European Union.


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