Fabio Panetta: Public money for the digital era - towards a digital euro

Speech by Mr Fabio Panetta, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, at the National College of Ireland, Dublin, 16 May 2022. 

Central bank speech  | 
17 May 2022

It is a pleasure to be here with all of you today to talk about the digital euro.

When we launched this project, we made it clear that this is a common European enterprise. Our collective effort is key to the preparation and eventual success of a digital euro.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Commissioner McGuinness and the President of the Eurogroup, Mr Donohoe, for the excellent collaboration.

As we prepare to potentially issue a digital euro, we want to engage with and listen to stakeholders and society at large. So I would like to thank the National College of Ireland for hosting us today and giving us the opportunity to discuss this project with you.

And I look forward to talking to the students who are here today. Young people will play a key role in the adoption of a digital euro and we need to hear their perspectives to make it a success.

We live in turbulent times. As we face the most serious geopolitical crisis since the Cold War, old certainties are increasingly being challenged. The invasion of Ukraine has cast further doubt on the reliability of a global order that enabled unprecedented economic interdependence.

In the financial realm, old certainties are also beginning to falter. Digital technologies, changing payment habits and the race for payments supremacy are testing the complementarity of public and private money, which has long formed a cornerstone of our monetary system.

Today I will argue that to preserve this symbiosis, public money must keep its role as a monetary anchor in the digital era. A digital euro would fortify our monetary sovereignty and provide a form of central bank money for making daily digital payments across the euro area, just like cash for physical transactions. To succeed, a digital euro will need to add value for users, foster innovation, and enjoy strong political and societal support.