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Could the Euro Die?
European Central Bank
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Are All Euro Notes Equal? Not if You're a Euro-Sceptic
Newspapers and the blogosphere have joined forces to cast doubt on the soundness of euro currency notes issued by the various central banks in the system . Stark warnings have been made about accepting "just any old euro banknote" while travelling around Europe. Newspaper writers have urged travellers to examine their notes by the serial number prefixes and watch out for those bearing the letters Y (Greece) or M (Portugal), G (Cyprus), S (Italy), V ( Spain), T ( Ireland) and F (Malta). They suggest the safer notes are those marked Z (Belgium), U (France), l (Finland) and H (Slovenia), X ( Germany), P (the Netherlands) and N (Austria).

French News Online asked the European Central Bank directly about the flurry over euro banknotes.  Niels BŁnemann, ECB's Principal Press Officer responded quickly to reassure readers that there was nothing to worry about. His response is printed in full below. Now you be the judge. If you are still concerned, email us and we will gladly seek further clarification. e-mail us

French News Online asked whether in a euro collapse, notes issued by Germany would be sounder than those by a potential defaulting country such as Greece.  Mr BŁnemann told us:  "The country code preceding the serial number on the euro banknotes has no significance at all for the validity of the banknote. All euro banknotes are legal tender in all euro area countries."

He went on: "These country codes only show which central bank commissioned the printing of the individual banknote. It does not, however, say anything about which central bank issued the banknote.

"For the production of banknotes, a decentralised pooling system is in operation, which means that individual national central banks are only responsible for the production of one or two specific banknote denominations. In other words, the national central banks specialise in certain denominations (5 euro, 10 euro, 20 euro and so forth). The central banks then exchange the banknotes produced between each other.
"Furthermore, when a banknote "travels" with its owner from one country to the other, it may be brought into a central bank in any of the euro area countries. The national central bank of that country can then re-issue the banknote if it is still fit for circulation. I repeat the most important message in this context: all euro banknotes are legal tender in all countries, the country code has absolutely no significance for the validity of the banknote."



Story: Ken Pottinger

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