The challenge of a new banknote series

More than 15 years after the introduction of euro cash, a new series of banknotes, entitled “Europa”, has been launched, with enhanced properties and security features. The renewal of a banknote series is a major technological and operational challenge for the Banque de France, as well as for cash industry professionals who have to adapt their equipment.

The challenge of a new series

More than 15 years after the introduction of euro banknotes and coins in 2002, the Eurosystem has launched a second series of euro banknotes entitled “Europa”.


Why a new Europa series?

Utilised around the world, euro banknotes are the currency of 19 countries and 338 million Europeans, and a powerful symbol of European integration. To maintain public confidence in the euro, the banknotes need to be upgraded regularly with the latest advances in graphics and security technology, to protect them against counterfeiting.

The smaller denominations in the “Europa” series have also been given a protective coating to make them more resistant to wear and tear. They will now need to be replaced less frequently, thereby reducing costs and the impact on the environment.

The portrait on the new series of banknotes is of the princess Europa, the figure from Greek mythology after whom our continent is named. The image was taken from a vase dating back over 2,000 years, originally discovered in southern Italy and now on display in the Louvre in Paris.


A gradual introduction

The Europa series of banknotes has been introduced gradually over several years:

  • Issuance of the €5 on 2 May 2013
  • Issuance of the €10 on 23 September 2014
  • Issuance of the €20 on 25 November 2015
  • Issuance of the €50 on 4 April 2017
  • Issuance of the €100 and €200 on 28 May 2019
  • The Eurosystem stopped issuing the €500 note as of 26 January 2019. Existing €500 notes from the first series are still legal tender. 

The new banknotes are easy to tell apart from their predecessors, while still keeping the same graphic design as the first series and the same dominant colours.
You can view the different denominations on the ECB website.

Each banknote bears the signature of Willem F. Duisenberg, Jean-Claude Trichet or Mario Draghi - respectively the first, second and third President of the European Central Bank. These banknotes all have the same validity. The banknotes bearing the signature of ECB President Lagarde will gradually be circulated (Watch the speech of Mrs Lagarde on youtube)

Phases prior to entry into circulation

There are several phases leading up to the entry into circulation of the new banknotes. In particular, manufacturers and users of handling equipment have to be made aware of the need to adapt their machinery to ensure it can accept, process and distribute the new notes.

Industry professionals are generally given nine months in which to test and deploy upgrades to their equipment, using banknotes loaned by the Banque de France.

More than a million leaflets are also sent out to SMEs, tradespersons and retailers informing them of the need to upgrade their banknote authentication machines.

The Banque de France circulates information on the new banknotes (leaflets, posters, etc.) and trains thousands of professional cash handlers in authentication techniques. It also surveys industry participants to see how they are getting on with their equipment upgrades, and holds quarterly meetings with manufacturers of ATMs and cash-in machines, banks, cash-in-transit firms and retail representatives, to ensure their machines will be ready when the new note is launched.

The Banque de France then distributes the new banknotes throughout French territory via its network of cash processing sites.

The notes are mainly disbursed to the general public via bank ATMs.


Updated on: 08/10/2021 15:29