Does Europe need the digital euro?

The EU Commission wants to introduce the digital euro, and presented the corresponding draft legislation on Wednesday. The electronic means of payment is to apply parallel to cash across the entire Eurozone. The move by the ECB and Brussels also comes in reaction to the fact that several countries are already working on alternatives to private cryptocurrencies. Europe’s press discusses whether a digital euro is worth all the effort.

Times of Malta (MT) /

The logical next step

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission for An Economy that Works for People, and Fabio Panetta, member of the ECB Executive Board, stress the importance of the project in the Times of Malta:

“Using cash for payments is declining in many parts of the world, including Europe. As we move towards a true digital economy, adapting cash to reflect the digital age is the logical next step. Having both options — a cash euro and a digital euro — would mean that everyone can choose how to pay and no one is left behind in the digitalisation of payments. Crucially, it would offer Europeans the option to pay digitally throughout the euro area, from Dublin to Nicosia and from Lisbon to Helsinki.”

Valdis Dombrovskis
Fabio Panetta
NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

A safe haven when things get rough

NRC sees the digital currency as an additional protection, especially in times of crisis:

“The simple fact that the monetary union will have a guaranteed digital form of the single currency in a few years is crucial. If the commercial banks get into trouble again, there would then be an instrument that can be used to address the problem if necessary. The traffic island that the ECB would offer could then be quickly expanded into a safe haven in a rough sea of financial capitalism. European citizens deserve this protection.”

Kurier (AT) /

Of limited use

Kurier looks at what the digital euro project is all about:

“You can already pay digitally. By debit and credit card, for example. In online shopping you have direct debit, cards, Klarna and Paypal. It’s difficult to see what advantage consumers could gain from a digital euro. Nor would the digital euro make European banks less dependent on US corporations for cross-border payments. Yet many financial institutions in Europe will certainly continue to rely entirely on Mastercard and Visa for payment systems in the future. ... The introduction of the digital euro is politically understandable. Economically, the whole thing is a huge effort. But the benefits are limited.”

Wolfgang Unterhuber
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

They know not what they do

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is unclear as to what benefits the digital currency will provide:

“The ECB director in charge, Fabio Panetta — who, ironically, will soon leave the Executive Board — has always justified the project with the increasing competition from private digital currencies and the fact that similar projects are being planned all over the world. That is an honourable motive, but not a sufficient reason for the move. Citing Europe’s ‘strategic autonomy’ to be gained by the digital euro is even less sufficient. ... Wouldn’t it have been better to first agree on the goals to be achieved by the project before setting it in motion? Now all those involved seem driven and no longer able to keep up with a development of whose merits they are only half convinced.”

Werner Mussler