In a conference promoted by the German central bank, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, defended the need to monitor changes in the world of payments. She stressed that while technologies can improve the efficiency of transactions, they can also represent risks.
“The Eurosystem has not yet decided whether or not to adopt a digital euro. But like many other central banks around the world, we are exploring the benefits, risks and operational challenges”, Lagarde said, according to Bloomberg.
The ECB and the national central banks from the euro zone form the Eurosystem. According to Lagarde, the results of studies by a Eurosystem team are expected to be released in the coming weeks. After that, a public consultation will start. But the President of the ECB has already given her opinion on this. According to Reuters, she sees the digital euro as useful for people who are increasingly changing cash for digital means.
Coming soon, rules on digital payments
In addition, a proposal for digital payments rules in Europe is also expected in the coming weeks. It was one of the topics at the meeting of euro zone authorities in Berlin. For the President of the ECB, foreign payment services in Europe is not a frightening matter in itself. However, an “increase in protectionist measures” represents new risks.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that our citizens have a choice and cannot be excluded from the payment ecosystem due to unilateral actions of others”, he said.
On the other hand, François Villeroy de Galhau, president of the Bank of France, said that Europe is facing “urgent and strategic choices” in payments. In this list is, above all, the possible creation of the digital euro, said the executive.
”We cannot allow ourselves to be left behind in CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currencies),” said de Galhau, according to Bloomberg.
Paper money still stands out
Jens Weidmann, German Central Bank President said the discussions about digital currencies do not mean that Central Banks want to abolish paper money. “It (paper money) gives privacy, and its use does not necessarily depend on technical infrastructure”, Weidmann added.
Reuters also points out that paper money is still very common in some European countries, including Germany. And that this may weaken the appeal for a digital euro.