Possible themes for future euro banknotes ©European Centralbank

ECB selects potential themes for future euro banknotes

The ECB Governing Council has selected “European culture” and “Rivers and birds” as potential themes for future euro banknotes. This decision was influenced by a wide-ranging survey: All EU citizens had the opportunity to vote on potential themes for the new euro banknotes in the summer of this year. A record number of 365,000 responses saw participants select “European culture”, “Rivers: the waters of life in Europe” and “Birds: free, resilient, inspiring” as their three favourite themes. The four other proposed themes each attracted significantly fewer people.

Nature-related topics combined

In order to best reflect public preferences, the ECB has chosen to combine “Rivers: Water of life in Europe” and “Birds: Free, resilient, inspiring” into a single nature-related themeWe are very pleased with the strong participation in our online survey, said ECB President Christine Lagarde. Both of the chosen themes share a common thread of connecting Europe and Europeans, and this is very much in keeping with our goal of making banknotes more relatable to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Final decision expected in 2026

An advisory group is set to propose motifs for the selected themes by the end of 2024, which will be followed by a design competition for the new banknotes. Europeans will then, again, have the opportunity to express their preferences regarding the proposed designs. The ECB is expected to decide on the final design of the new banknotes and the timing of their production and issue in 2026.

Why are new euro banknotes being developed?

It is the duty of the ECB and the euro area national central banks to ensure euro banknotes remain an innovative and secure means of payment. In a world where reproduction technologies are rapidly evolving and where counterfeiters can easily access information and materials, it is necessary to issue new banknotes on a regular basis.

In addition to these security aspects, euro area central banks are committed to reducing the environmental impact of the production, distribution and destruction of euro banknotes. The new banknotes are also planned to be even more inclusive, including of vulnerable groups such as people with visual impairments.