Preferences are shifting when we talk about means of payment. The pandemic and, recently, the war on Ukraine, accelerated the digital transition and economic independence in Europe. Since January 2020, the ECB has been moving forward in its project to create a Central Bank Digital Currency – the digital euro.
In the last ECON Committee meeting, Fabio Panetta, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB) had an exchange of views with the members of the Committee on the progress made on the digital euro. ECB, with the help of focus groups, is working towards its fundamental aim: to support the digitalisation of the European economy and encourage innovation, stability and soundness of the European market.
MEPs showed some concerns on the international cooperation with other central banks, on the protection of privacy and on the financial and digital illiteracy. Fabio Panetta assured them that the ECB has been cooperating closely with international central banks, namely the Bank of England, in the exchange of experience and technological matters. He also stated that they are working on how to best align its projects in a view of interoperability. When asked about the protection of privacy against commercial use or unjustified intrusion, Fabio Panetta stressed that the ECB has no commercial interest in using valuable data and would fully support all legislative measures to protect and restrict the abusive use of data. Not forgetting those who are most excluded from the digitalization, Fabio Panetta admitted that, indeed, there was no major enthusiasm of this part of the population regarding the digital euro. However, it can be solved by investing in financial and digital literacy and access, because what they want is an easy, safe and universal means of payment and the digital euro could fulfil this need.
By Helena Freitas