Single Currency Package: new proposals to support the use of cash and to propose a framework for a digital euro

The European Commission has today put forward two proposals to ensure that citizens and businesses can continue to access and pay with euro banknotes and coins across the euro area, and to set out a framework for a possible new digital form of the euro that the European Central Bank may issue in the future, as a complement to cash.

The euro continues to be a symbol of Europe’s unity and strength. Across the euro area and beyond, for more than two decades, people and businesses have been accustomed to paying with euro coins and banknotes. While 60% of people surveyed would like to continue to have the option to use cash, an increasing number of people are choosing to pay digitally, using cards and applications issued by banks and other digital and financial firms. This trend was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To reflect these trends, the Commission has today proposed two mutually supportive sets of measures to ensure that people have both payment options, cash and digital when they want to pay with central bank money:

  • A legislative proposal on the legal tender of euro cash to safeguard the role of cash, ensure it is widely accepted as a means of payment and remains easily accessible for people and businesses across the euro area.
  • A legislative proposal establishing the legal framework for a possible digital euro as a complement to euro banknotes and coins. It would ensure that people and businesses have an additional choice – on top of current private options – that allows them to pay digitally with a widely accepted, cheap, secure and resilient form of public money in the euro area (complementing the private solutions that exist today). While today’s proposal – once adopted by the European Parliament and Council – would establish the legal framework for the digital euro, it will ultimately be for the European Central Bank to decide if and when to issue the digital euro.