As financial services and means of payment become digital, we need to guarantee access to both cash payments and secure public digital money to ensure the financial inclusion for all EU citizens. On 26 June 2023 the European Commission published its Single Currency Package. This legislative initiative includes new proposals to support the use of cash across the euro area and to propose a framework for a possible new digital form of the euro, complementary to cash.
- Legal tender of euro banknotes and coins : The legal tender proposal very much reflects the recommendations of the ERPB working group on access to and acceptance of cash that was co-chaired by AGE and a bank representative. Its aim is to ensure that everyone in the euro area is free to choose their preferred payment method and has access to basic cash services. It will ensure the financial inclusion of groups who tend to rely more on cash payments, including many older people.
- Digital euro : As a complement to euro banknotes and coins, the digital euro would provide an additional digital payment alternative using a widely accepted, cheap, secure and resilient form of public money in the euro area (complementing the private retail digital payment solutions that exist today). Once the Commission’s proposal is adopted by the European Parliament and Council of the EU it would establish the legal framework for the digital euro. It will ultimately be for the European Central Bank to decide if and when to issue the digital euro.
AGE is involved in the ERPB working group on the digital euro to ensure that the digital euro will be designed for all and will meet the needs of older persons. We are particularly pleased to see that the European Commissionq’s digital euro proposal includes strong references to the need for the digital euro to support digital financial inclusion (with several references to older persons). It also includes a reference to the European Accessibility Act (EAA) stating clearly that the digital euro solutions will have to comply with the EAA.
To learn more about both proposals:
- European Commission’s factsheet on the Single Currency Package: the two-page factsheet is available in all EU languages at : Single Currency Package – factsheet (europa.eu) (select language by clicking on ‘English’ in the top banner to open the menu).
- Commission webpage on the Single Currency Package : the Single Currency Package (europa.eu) (in English) is available in all EU languages (select language by clicking on ‘English’ in the top banner to open the menu).
To access the legal proposals:
- Proposal for a regulation on the legal tender of euro bank notes and coins (in English only)
- Proposal for a regulation for the digital euro (in English only)
The digital financial inclusion is a key priority of AGE task force on Age-Friendly Environments. For more information on AGE work on retail financial services, contact Julia Wadoux at Julia.email@example.com.