The digital euro could not be programmable money, according to a statement released Monday by the Eurogroup, an organization made up of the Finance Ministers of the Eurozone countries. In other words, neither the time nor the kinds of goods and services that might be purchased with the digital euro would be constrained.
The Eurogroup expressed a number of opinions during its meeting to assess the development of the digital euro, the bloc’s central bank’s digital currency (CBDC). The project’s research phase, which started in July 2021, is anticipated to last 24 months.
While the U.S. is still trying to figure out a CBDC’s benefits, the EU is just one of more than 100 nations worldwide that are investigating or building one. Later this year, the EU Commission is likely to propose a digital euro bill, and after October 2023, EU leaders are anticipated to decide whether to adopt it.
The Eurogroup noted throughout its discussions that the digital euro should complement cash rather than replace it, be recognized as legal tender, and guarantee a high degree of privacy. The group also stated that the CDBC should ensure consumers in the euro region access central bank funds and that its architecture should consider environmental considerations.
The need for the digital euro’s architecture to combat money laundering, criminal financing, and tax evasion while upholding user confidence was again emphasized by the Eurogroup. A crucial statement made by the Eurozone’s finance ministers was that the central bank’s capacity to carry out its mandate for price stability should be maintained by the design of the digital euro.
The Eurogroup agreed that citizens should be able to use the digital euro offline in various situations and said that supervised intermediaries may play an “important role.” This comes after EU legislators criticized Amazon’s participation in the digital euro project to create a prototype for the new CBDC’s e-commerce applications.
The finance ministers of the EU also expressed support for the digital euro’s feature of interoperability with other CBDCs while minimizing risks related to using its CBDC outside the euro region. The International Monetary Fund has suggested the creation of a global CBDC platform, but it has yet to happen.