The ECB launches a new 50 euro banknote today claiming it will be harder to forge, and says evidence suggests Europe's single currency is proving hard for criminals to corrupt.
The European central bank, not content with the low rate of forgeries for its banknotes, is stiffening security on the 50 euro note with a redesign.
The banknote is the most popular among forgers, followed by the 20 euro note.
The ECB reports a rise in the number of confiscated forgeries, but the new 50 euro note with its enhanced security features will be a tough nut to crack for the criminals.
‘Although bank notes may not receive as much attention as other aspects of our monetary policy they are a fundamental part of what we do,” said ECB boss Mario Draghi.
Some 80% of all forgeries were represented by the 50 and 20 euro notes, and most circulate within Europe, with only about 1% found abroad. In 2016 more 20 euro notes were seized, while forged 50s were on the decline.
The EU’s high-denomination notes have been criticised by some as providing organised crime with easy pickings, but the 500 euro note will be withdrawn in 2018 and traders are now wary and many refuse to accept notes over 50 euros. There is little evidence to support the claim the big notes have been a crime bonanza.