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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 -, 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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