ECB’s Panetta Reinforces Digital Euro Focus on Payments – Fabio Panetta, a member of the European Central Bank’s executive board, announced that the digital euro project, an initiative to digitize Europe’s fiat currency, was nearing completion, and that one of the project’s initial goals is to establish it as a universal payment method.
Panetta emphasized that there was no one digital means of payment across the European Union in an introductory speech to the European Parliament’s committee on economic and monetary matters on April 24. Panetta stated: “We have been investigating the technical solutions that would enable people to easily make payments in digital euro, anywhere in the euro area.”
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Furthermore, he stated that legislators may grant the digital euro legal tender status, requiring all merchants capable of accepting digital payments to accept it. On the other end of the spectrum, it would allow banks and payment processors to reduce their reliance on third-party providers, paving the way for the development of a “truly European” new platform.
The supposed significance of this project for the structure of payments in Europe has already been addressed by ECB President Christine Lagarde, who declared that the digital euro was “key” to European payment autonomy. Lagarde stressed at the time that many of the payment methods utilized by Europeans, such as applications and cards, were not necessarily based in Europe.
Panetta also talked about the ideal requirements that the digital euro should fulfill if launched, stating: “People should be able to pay and be paid in digital euro anywhere in the euro area, no matter which intermediary they are using to access the digital euro or which country they are in.” Panetta indicated that the project’s next phase will entail the development and testing of technical solutions related to the digital euro, as well as collaboration with the European Commission on legislative recommendations on the subject.