May 22, 2022

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ECB Chief Lagarde Says Digital Euro Will Not Replace Cash — But Could Offer Convenient, Cost-Free Means of Payment

ECB Chief Lagarde Says Digital Euro Will Not Replace Cash — But Could Offer Convenient, Cost-Free Means of Payment

The president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, says that a digital euro will not replace cash but would complement it. “A digital euro would give you an additional choice about how to pay and make it easier to do so, contributing to accessibility and inclusion,” the ECB explained.

Digital Euro to Complement Cash

ECB President Christine Lagarde talked about the digital euro at the plenary session of the European Parliament Monday on the 20th anniversary of the introduction of euro banknotes and coins.

“Last year, we launched the digital euro project,” she said. “We will investigate how a digital euro could offer a convenient, cost-free means of payment, allowing people to pay anywhere in the euro area with risk-free digital money – for example, when making payments online, which preclude the use of cash,” the ECB chief continued, emphasizing:

In any event, a digital euro would complement cash, not replace it. This is also why we launched the process for redesigning our banknotes.

The European Central Bank launched a two-year investigation into a digital euro in October last year. “Once the investigation phase has ended, we will decide whether or not to start developing a digital euro. We would then create and test possible solutions, working together with banks and companies which could provide the technology and the payment services,” the ECB clarified.

The ECB website details: “The digital euro would still be a euro: like banknotes but digital. It would be an electronic form of money issued by the Eurosystem (the ECB and national central banks) and accessible to all citizens and firms.” It adds:

A digital euro would give you an additional choice about how to pay and make it easier to do so, contributing to accessibility and inclusion.

Meanwhile, the European Commission is planning to put forward a bill to lay down the legal foundation for a digital euro. The legislation will support the ECB’s work on the digital euro. “Our goal is to table legislation in early 2023,” said Mairead McGuinness, European commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services, and the Capital Markets Union.

What do you think about ECB Chief Lagarde’s remarks on the digital euro? Let us know in the comments section below.