Draghi to Announce Issuance of New Euro Banknotes

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will today announce the issuance of a new series of euro banknotes, according to the Italian central bank.

Draghi will make the announcement during his press conference in Frankfurt following today’s ECB policy meeting, Banca d’Italia said in an e-mailed statement. The five-euro ($6.37) note will be the first to be put into circulation, it said.

Central banks typically redesign their banknotes on a regular basis to improve security and prevent counterfeiting. The new notes will feature an image from Greek mythology, four people familiar with the design said in August, even as Greece struggles to meet fiscal targets, jeopardizing its membership in the 17-nation monetary union.

Europa, the Phoenician princess abducted by Zeus who gave the continent its name, will replace architectural images as the watermark on the new notes, the people said. Putting a face rather than a structure on the watermark may make it harder for forgers to produce fakes.

Current euro notes show windows, gateways and bridges from different eras in European architecture, both as the main pictures on the bills and in the watermarks. The new notes will retain these symbols and be very similar to those in circulation, the people said.

The ECB, which has repeatedly delayed the redesign of euro banknotes first introduced in 2002, will issue the new five-euro bill next year, according to the people.

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