A thorough discussion between all stakeholders is valuable in assessing how to best address the challenges that the digital euro aims to solve and how to design it to bring added value to Europe’s citizens and businesses.

As the digital euro project of the ECB is now in the preparation phase, a close public-private collaboration is essential to identify opportunities and mitigate risks robustly and well in advance.



EBF Vision on a Digital Euro Ecosystem

 The digital finance landscape is constantly evolving. As part of this evolution, the topic of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) has gained ground and in Europe the project to explore the issuance of a digital euro is moving ahead rapidly.

In this paper, the European Banking Federation (EBF), representing the vast majority of the European banking sector, sets forth its initial vision for the digital money ecosystem of the future, where a retail digital euro, a wholesale CBDC, and bank-issued money tokens would all play a role in enabling innovation, supporting customer needs and ensuring that Europe stays at the forefront of digital finance and the digital economy.

The paper focuses on different aspects of a retail digital euro but also sets out the main principles for the other elements of a digital money ecosystem. If issued, the EBF envisions a retail digital euro that would be issued by the Eurosystem as raw material, allowing the industry to develop solutions and fully deploy its innovative potential to deliver future-proof and competitive payment solutions to the European market.




EBF paper #1: Strategic considerations

The EBF takes note of the work that is done by the Eurosystem to investigate a digital euro that could be aimed at a retail audience, should the need arise. A central bank digital euro should first and foremost be a viable and optimal solution to a clearly defined unserviced need in the market, for which no other more efficient solution exists. In addition, it should benefit private individuals and corporates and the economy as a whole, while avoiding destabilizing the financial system. Therefore, before the ECB decides to issue a CBDE, it should be clear what a CBDE can contribute that is not already covered or covered by private payment and deposit solutions.

Taking into account their crucial position in the financial and payment systems, and for the financing of the economy, European banks welcome a continuous exchange with the ECB on the digital euro project. The underlying needs, possible – effective – alternatives under these objectives as well as the design principles should be further explored with representatives of the European society at large. EBF welcomes detailed discussions with sufficient time before a decision on a project launch.

The EBF stands ready to engage with the ECB in conducting additional assessments and applying investigative tools beyond the launched public consultation.

EBF paper #2: Impact on bank funding

A digital euro would need to benefit European citizens and the economy as a whole, while avoiding any destabilizing effect on the financial system. Moreover, in a possible digital euro ecosystem, it should be very clear how private sector payment and deposit solutions would go hand in hand with it.

Reflecting on the idea of limiting digital euro holdings to address negative consequences, in EBF paper #2 we share our views on the possible cyclical and structural disintermediation of bank funding. We also raise questions as to the implications of such disintermediation and the availability of alternative funding sources, while also looking at what this could mean for the role of the ECB itself.

EBF paper #3: How does a digital euro fit the payments landscape?

The digital euro project investigation phase is set to define what a digital euro could actually be and the purposes and use cases it could fulfill. However, it is already clear that a digital euro would impact the European payments landscape. The objective of increased European sovereignty can only be achieved with competitive payment methods offered to the public by European PSPs. One of the main goals of the starting investigation by the ECB should be to define whether a digital euro would support this objective and how in practice it would add value to the EU payments landscape. This would provide a very welcome clarification on how a digital euro will fit Europe’s already existing efficient, secure and well-functioning electronic payments market.

Substantial efforts have been deployed by policy makers and financial industry to create a Single Market for payments up to today. The EBF #3 paper takes a closer look at the expected impact by the digital euro on this Market, and what design aspects are essential to consider in return.

Position papers, Responses and Relevant Documents

Copenhagen Economics study on the impact of a digital euro on financial stability and consumer welfare

A digital euro beyond impulse

Strategic considerations

Impact on bank funding

How does a digital euro fit the payments landscape?

EBF response to European Commission’s Targeted Consultation on a digital euro


Alongside many Central Banks around the world, the European Central Bank is exploring the possibility of issuing Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), a digital euro. The ECB is currently looking at how a digital euro could be designed and distributed, as well as the impact it could have on the market.

In October 2023, the ECB Governing Council decided to move to the next phase of the Digital Euro project: the preparation phase. More here


From Payments to CBDCs: Are we rethinking the financial ecosystem?

Thursday, 18 November 2021



The third Digital Thursday 2021 focused on Central Bank Digital Currencies and payments. The event discussed the phenomenon of CDBC globally and debated on the need for CBDCs for a global financial ecosystem. Experts explored how CBDC issuance would change the role of central banks and the banking system overall, while providing insights on different CBDC projects that are under way.  The event touched on a potential integration of a digital euro into the European payments landscape: how does it fit together with the retail payments strategies of the European Commission and the ECB? And how does it affect the objective to develop ‘homegrown’ pan-European payment solutions and the new instant payments framework in Europe?


Close-up: A digital euro

Thursday, 24 June 2021


Central banks around the world are investigating Central Bank Digital Currencies as a response to the emergence of private stablecoin projects and to meet the needs of an increasingly digitalized economy. In Europe, the ECB is expected to announce soon the continuation of its investigation into a digital euro following a public consultation phase.

For the debate to go forward, it is important to explore in more detail what a digital euro could look like, what could be its features and how it could be best designed to benefit European businesses and citizens. The digital euro project also raises important questions on the role of the banking sector, including the broader role banks would play in a digital euro ecosystem and how they would participate in the design phase.

At EBF Digital Thursday Close-up we discussed these challenges, including what to expect from the next phase of this important new development. Click on the banner above to watch the full recording of the event.

  • Alessandra Chiarini, Policy Adviser – Payments and Innovation