Banknotes are the same across the euro area, unlike coins, which, in addition to a common side, have a national side.
There are two series of euro banknotes:
- the first series, which was introduced in 2002, comprises seven denominations currently in circulation: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500;
- the Europa series, which started production in 2013, will comprise six denominations (€5, €10, €20 and €50nand later €100 and €200). Unlike the first series, the Europa series will not include the €500 denomination.
Eurosystem central banks have developed a new series to make euro banknotes even more secure and durable, incorporating advances in banknote technology.
Initially, the banknotes of the first series will circulate alongside those of the Europa series, but they will gradually be withdrawn.
The date when the banknotes of the first series will cease to be legal tender will be announced well in advance. However, they will retain their value indefinitely and will be exchangeable at euro area national central banks at any time.
Euro banknotes, regardless of their denomination, include:
- the name of the currency (euro) in both the Latin (EURO) and Greek (EYPΩ) alphabets, and, in the case of the Europa series, also in Cyrillic (EBPO);
- the initials of the European Central Bank (ECB). Due to EU enlargement, in the Europa series the number of linguistic variants increased from five to nine on €5, €10 and €20 banknotes and to ten on €50 banknotes (as well as on €100 and €200 banknotes in due course), to accommodate Croatia’s entry into the EU in 2013;
- the symbol © indicating copyright protection;
- the EU flag;
- the signature of the President of the ECB.
The banknotes of the first series bear the signature of either Mario Draghi, Willem F. Duisenberg or Jean-Claude Trichet – the current and the two former Presidents of the ECB respectively.
To help the visually impaired to distinguish euro banknotes:
- they have different sizes and colours according to their value;
- they feature large value numerals;
- the €200 and €500 banknotes (first series) and the banknotes of the Europa series have tactile marks: along the bottom edge of the €200 banknote and right-hand edge of the €500 banknote, and both left- and right-hand edges of the Europa series banknotes.