The Renew Europe Group welcomes the European Commission’s legislative proposal establishing a digital euro, which aims to provide the EU with a solid regulatory framework to be at the forefront of digital transformations in the payments sector, while getting everyone on board. Renew Europe, as the leading political group on economic and financial matters, has reacted by launching a policy paper explaining its position and political priorities on the design and uses of a future digital currency.
At a time of structural transformation of the means of payment where the digital has gained strength, European payments must be supported by a competitive and innovative market capable of meeting consumer demands. In this regard, Renew Europe deems the digital euro (a central bank digital currency, an electronic equivalent to cash) an ambitious project striving to reinforce the EU’s sovereignty and preserve the role of public money. As a complement to cash (not as a replacement), the digital euro will only work properly if it is trustworthy, secure and easy to use, and it should be designed in a way that allows anonymity and ensures citizens’ privacy in small financial transactions. Likewise, it must provide EU citizens with an additional value beyond what is already offered by existing digital payment services and allow the fight against money laundering and tax evasion.
Preventing the digital euro from having any potential negative influence on deposit levels and banks' capacity to lend is also key to Renew Europe, and relevant intermediaries (such as banks, e-money and payment institutions) should be freely involved in its use and distribution. Moreover, the emergence of a digital euro could help Eurozone countries to assert our sovereignty in the face of a few extra-European private initiatives risking domination of the market, contributing to reinforcing Europe’s open strategic autonomy in the payments’ sector and promoting financial inclusion.
MEP Gilles Boyer (Horizons, France), Renew Europe coordinator on Tax Matters (FISC) and author of the Renew Europe policy paper on the digital euro, declared:
“This is a major technical challenge, but above all a political one. There are many questions to be resolved on which we will need to find the right balance. The EU must be and remain at the forefront of transformations in the payments sector. Our sovereignty is at stake, as is the preservation of an essential prerogative of public power: issuing money.”
MEP Stéphanie YON-COURTIN (L’Europe Ensemble, France), Renew Europe Coordinator on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), stated:
“The digital euro will provide great opportunities for both citizens and companies if properly framed. Citizens are at the heart of this project and it cannot succeed without them on board. As colegislator, the European Parliament will be key in determining its features. The digital euro will need to address citizens’ data protection concerns while remaining easily usable and accessible to all. This project cannot jeopardise financial stability, and therefore needs to remain complementary to cash.”