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"The digital euro concerns the whole society, not only finance"

A public call upon the ECB and the European Parliament

14 February 2022

[English] [français]

As the European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde visits the European Parliament to celebrate 20 years of the single currency, the Digital Euro Watch has brought together some 120 European scholars and civil society organisations (see the full list of signatures below) to call for a more democratic approach to the implementation of the digital euro, starting with the preparatory phase started by the ECB a few months ago.

The text published in Euractiv on February 14 .

As the Euro celebrates its 20th anniversary, the European Central Bank (ECB) investigates the possibility of creating a "digital euro" in addition to the coins and notes that we still use, but less and less, in our daily transactions. Unlike bank cards and other payment systems, the digital euro would be a "central bank digital currency", i.e. a currency issued and guaranteed directly by the ECB, accessible and usable by all. As such, it offers new opportunities for our societies and for the Euro itself, challenged as it is by numerous private digital currency projects. But is the ECB willing to seize these opportunities?

Access to central bank money in digital form is currently restricted to banking and financial actors; a digital euro would make it available to all individuals and economic actors. A digital euro could make our payment systems more inclusive and less expensive for the poorest parts of the population. It could also be used to implement new economic, social or environmental policies by enabling monetary transfers to all European citizens. Finally, it could reinforce the legitimacy of the single currency by putting it more clearly at the service of European citizens.

However, there are reasons to fear a missed opportunity. The ECB seems to consider the new digital currency as a purely technical tool disconnected from any social or political considerations, and the preparations advance without any real involvement of citizens, in a top-down and technocratic manner.

Although the ECB has announced its intention to collaborate with all actors of the society, for the moment it has only set up a group of 30 experts (the Digital Euro Market Advisory Group) exclusively from the banking and financial sectors. These experts are, as a matter of fact, in a privileged position to shape the concrete form of the digital euro. As for the Euro Retail Payments Board, which does include two consumer associations among its 20 members, it is only invited to give feedback on specific outputs to be submitted by the ECB. Citizens will only be involved through a few focus groups, the details of which are unknown.

The public consultation already organised by the ECB and closed in January 2021 cannot justify not involving European citizens more widely. The democratic stakes implied deserve much more than an online questionnaire hardly publicised, little accessible and which does not allow for the comprehension of the subject, while most people are unfamiliar with the whole issue.

We therefore call on the ECB to truly involve the society in the current investigation of the digital euro and to broaden the discussion to the objectives that could be pursued with the help of this monetary innovation. This requires first of all transparency on the activities and discussions carried out within the ECB about the future digital euro, as well as the possibility given to civil society and academic actors to take part in them. Second, we call on the ECB to initiate a true public debate about the digital euro, informed and enlightened, within the Member States.

Most of all, we need our democracy to get involved. The matter is not only technical, it is above all political as the digital euro concerns us all. We therefore call on the European Parliament to take on this issue as part of its monetary dialogue with the ECB. This dialogue is the main framework established by the Treaties where our democracy can express itself on the objectives of monetary policy. It should thus include the objectives of the digital euro, without being reduced to a pure formality where Parliament simply takes note of decisions that have already been taken.

The future digital euro must be considered as a public good. Its preparation phase offers a unique opportunity to involve citizens, their representatives and civil society actors into a broader discussion about how the digital euro could help the eurozone countries to better address the multiple crises they face. These options will heavily depend on the technical design chosen, which should therefore not be preempted by financial and banking actors.

List of signatures

- Abbate Francesco, Adjunct Professor of International Economics, University of Turin, Italy
- Aglietta Michel, Professeur émérite Univ. Paris Nanterre et conseiller scientifique au Cepii, France
- Auvray Tristan, Maître de conférences de l’université Sorbonne Paris Nord, France
- Baubeau Patrice, Associate Professor - Université Paris Nanterre, France
- Beckmann, Marc, Researcher at Positive Money Europe, Austria
- Berton, Fabio, Associate Professor of Economic Policy, University of Torino, Italy
- Bindewald, Leander, independent researcher - monneta.org, Germany
- Blanc, Jérôme, Professeur, Sciences Po Lyon, France
- Boccon-Gibod, Thomas, Maître de conférences, philosophie du droit, Université Grenoble Alpes, France
- Bonello, André, Head of research and advocacy Caritas Malta, Malta
- Bonnisseau, Jean-Marc, Professeur, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
- Brandl, Barbara, Professor at Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main , Germany
- Burlando, Roberto, Professor of Economics, University of Torino, Italy
- Capelle-Blancard, Gunther, Professeur d’économie, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
- Carrié, Jean-Michel, Directeur d’études émérite EHESS, France
- Cazes, Jérôme, Finance Watch CTI, France
- Chirinko, Robert, Professor of Finance, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA, United States
- Cialfi, Daniela, Postdoctoral researcher, Italy
- Clerwall, Ulf, "Project Leader, Science & Society Alliance and co-coordinator of the UNESCO Bernard Maris Chair in Economics", France
- Cobham, David, professor of economics, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
- Couppey-Soubeyran, Jézabel, associated professor at University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
- Delandre, Pierre, Sociologist, Advisor in the financial sector, Belgium
- Demeulemeester, Samuel, PhD, Triangle, Lyon, France
- Denayer, André, Président - ATD Quart Monde Belgique, Belgium
- Derudder, Philippe, Éconologistes, France
- Desmedt, Ludovic, Professeur d’économie, Université de Bourgogne, France
- Deyris, Jérôme, Doctorant en économie à l’Université Paris Nanterre, France
- Diessner, Sebastian, Assistant Professor, Leiden University, Netherlands
- Dini, Paolo, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
- Dissaux, Tristan, Université Libre de Bruxelles, convenor of the Digital Euro Watch at Veblen Institute, Belgium/France
- Ducourant, Hélène, Maîtresse de Conférences en Sociologie Université Gustave Eiffel, France
- Duscha, Markus, Founder and Managing Director, Fair Finance Institute, Germany
- Duval, Maxime , Doctorant en sciences économiques à l’Université Paris-Nanterre, France
- Duval, Jean-Christophe, Chercheur indépendant en théorie monétaire. Membre des think tank : Les Econologistes et Gaïa Economic Symposium France
EAPN, Portugal, NGO, Portugal
- Ehnts, Dirk, Speaker of the board, Pufendorf society for political economy, Berlin, Germany
- Fare Marie, Maîtresse de Conférences, Lyon 2 / Triangle (UMR 5206), France
- Farvaque, Etienne, Professor, Economics, France
- Ferreira, Helder, Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network, Belgium
- Fontan, Clément, Professeur de politiques économiques européennes UCLouvain, Belgium
- Franka, Nicolas, Responsable Monnaie, Financité, Belgium
- Fuentesal García, Lorenzo, Director Clickoin, Spain
- Galanti, Sébastien, Maitre de Conférences HDR, Université d’Orléans, France
- Gautié, Jérôme, Professor, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
- Gelleri, Christian, "Research assistant University of Würzburg, CEO Regios eG (social cooperative)", Germany
- Glantz, Emily, Research, Advocacy and Strategy Officer - Finance Watch, Belgium
- Gomez, Georgina, Associate Professor, Netherlands
- Grale, Lena, Member of the Board, Digital Euro Association, Germany
- Gross, Jonas, Chairman at Digital Euro Association, Germany
- Gutierrez-Diez, Pedro Jose, Professor, Dpt. Of Economic Theory, University Of Valladolid, Spain
- Hadj Salem, Haykel, Fellow and professor at RBS , France
- Hassani, Bertrand, PhD, HDR - Chercheur Associé Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, CEO Group QUANT AI Lab, France
- Hebert, Patrick, Treasurer of Veblen Institute - Paris, France
- Jérusalmy, Olivier, Managing Director - Financial Inclusion Europe aisbl, Belgium
- Kalinowski, Wojtek, Co-Director, Veblen Institute for Economic Reforms, France
- Karavangeli, Georgia, Project Manager, ACPP, Spain
- Kempf, Hubert, Professor of economics, France
- Kennedy, Declan, retired Prof. from TU Berlin Germany, Germany
- Latsch, Kathrin, Executive Director monneta non-profit Company, Germany
- Laurence, Nicolas, Docteur en sciences économiques à l’Université Lyon 2, France
- Lauriks, Els, Coordinator, Fairfin, Belgium
- Le Saout, Erwan, Maître de Conférences, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
- Legendre, François, Professeur d’économie, Université Paris-Est Créteil, France
- Llorca, Matthieu , Maître de conférences en économie, Université de Bourgogne, Laboratoire d’Economie de Dijon (LEDi), France
- Louveaux, Françoise, Groupe citoyen Financité BCÉvolution, Belgium
- Lung, Yannick, Professeur émérite à l’université de Bordeaux, France
- Luyts, Bert, Délégation ATD Quart Monde auprès de l’Union européenne, Belgium
- Martignoni, Jens, Lecturer, ZHAW School of Management and Law, Winterthur, Switzerland
- Martín Belmonte, Susana, Independent Economist , Spain
- Meisel, Nicolas, Economiste, AFD, France
- Meunier, Francois, ENSAE Prof affilié, France
- Mihailov, Alexander, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Reading, United Kingdom
- Molenaar, Sandra, CEO Consumentenbond, Netherlands
- Monnet, Eric, Ecole d’économie de Paris, France
- Monvoisin, Virginie, Professeur Associé - GEM, France
- Mousa, Saeed, PhD researcher Lille university, France
- Nenovsky , Nikolay , Professor of economics, University of Picardie Jules Verne, Member of the Bulgarian Central Bank Governing Council , Bulgaria
- Oldani, Chiara, Università degli studi della Tuscia, Italy
- Ortiz, Horacio, Chargé de recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France
- Paille, Antoine, ceo prg trading, France
- Parent, Anne-Sophie, Former Secretary General AGE Platform Europe, Belgium
- Perret, Virgile, Project Leader, Observatoire de la Finance, Switzerland
- Plihon, Dominique, professor at the University of Sorbonne Paris Nord, member of the Economistes atterrés
- Ponsot, Jean-François , Professeur des Universités en sciences économiques, Pacte de Université Grenoble Alpes, France
- Porcherot, Raphaël, PhD Candidate IDHE.S Paris-Saclay, France
- Privileggi, Fabio, Full professor, University of Torino, Italy
- Remekselä, Irja, Chairperson of board members, EAPN-Fin, Finland
- Renault, Thomas, Maître de conférences - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
- Rolland, Maël, PhD candidate CEMS-EHESS, France
- Rossi, Sergio, Professor of Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Switzerland
- Ruibérriz de Torres López, José María, Head of the Social and Solidarity Economy Strategy, Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz (ACPP), Spain
- Ryan-Collins, Josh, Senior Research Fellow in Economics and Finance, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, United Kingdom
- Sanders, Mark, Professor of International Economics, Netherlands
- Scassellati Sforzolini, Alessandro, CILAP EAPN Italia, Italy
- Schenk, Hans, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Business, Utrecht University, Netherlands
- Schmalzried, Martin, Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager at COFACE-Families Europe, Belgium
- Scialom, Laurence, Professor, University Paris Nanterre, Research center EconomiX UMR CNRS, France
- Settepanella, Simona, Senior Lecturer, Torino University, Italy
- Snick, Anne, Club of Rome member , Belgium
- Soichot, Anne, Animatrice et chargée de projet Financité, association belge pour une finance solidaire, Belgium
- Sotiropoulou, Irene, Independent Scholar, United Kingdom, Greece
- Stodder, James, Visiting Professor of the Practice, Metropolitan College, University of Boston, United States
- Tadjeddine, Yamina, Professor of economics, France
- Teodoro, Criscione, Ph.D. Student & Researcher in Network Science at Central European University, Austria
- Théret, Bruno, social scientist, France
- Tichit, Ariane, Maîtresse de conférences en économie, Université Clermont Auvergne, France
- Traballi, Rogerio, Professor, Italy
- Tropeano, Domenica, Associate profesor university of Macerata, Italy
- Tsenova, Tsvetomira, PhD, Senior Economics Adviser, Experian , Bulgaria
- Tuncel, Mehmet, Enseignant-chercheur, Nantes Université, France
- Vallino, Elena, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, Culture and Society, University of Torino, Italy
- van der Linden, Martijn, Professor New Finance at The Hague University of Applied Science, Netherlands
- van Egmond, Klaas, Professor on Environmental sciences and Sustainability at Utrecht University / Member Sustainable Finance Lab, Netherlands
- van Staveren, Irene, Professor of economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Vincent, Michael, Président de Greentervention, Belgium
- Vornetti, Patricia, Maître de conférences en économie, Ecole d’économie de la Sorbonne, U. Paris 1, France
- Wanner, Hugo, stafmedewerker, Muntuit vzw, Belgium
- Warnier, Jean-Pierre, Anthropologue, prof honoraire, Université de Paris-Descartes, France
- Westermeier, Carola, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany
- Youel, Simon, Head of Policy & Advocacy, Positive Money UK, United Kingdom
- Zacharie, Arnaud, Secrétaire général du Centre national de coopération au développement et maître de conférences à l’ULB et à l’ULiège, Belgium
- Zanolli, Romain, Docteur en droit, France

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