Fabio Panetta: A digital euro - widely available and easy to use

Introductory statement by Mr Fabio Panetta, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, at the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament, Brussels, 24 April 2023. 

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
25 April 2023

I am pleased to appear before this Committee again today as part of our series of hearings on the digital euro project.

We are now entering the final stage of the investigation phase of the project. The ECB's Governing Council recently endorsed a third set of design options for the digital euro – design options that we have also discussed in previous hearings. Today we are thus publishing a report setting out the Eurosystem's views on how people could access, hold and start to use the digital euro. The report also examines how the digital euro could be distributed by intermediaries as well as the services and features it could offer.

Our work in recent months has not just been about investigating technical issues. We have also held focus groups to hear from potential users of a digital euro and find out what they think about the different features a digital wallet should have. This will help us in designing a product that meets their needs.

In a modern economy, being able to pay digitally is a basic need for people.

With cash, central banks already provide a means of payment that is risk-free, widely accessible and easy to use, and that leaves no-one behind. But the rapid digitalisation of our economies requires us to complement cash with its evolution in the digital sphere: a digital euro.

As a central bank, we need to be ready for future evolutions and make sure that the money we issue maintains its role as a monetary anchor in the digital era, thereby reassuring us that one euro is one euro whatever form it takes and wherever we go. And it cements people's trust in our currency.