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ECB's Lagarde says "we will have a digital euro"

(Xinhua)    09:49, January 14, 2021

FRANKFURT, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde said on Wednesday that she thinks the digital euro will happen in response to the demand in Europe.

"Banknotes are still to stay," Lagarde said in an online interview at the Reuters Next conference, "but I think we will have a digital euro."

"We need to respond to the European demand and we have a demand," Lagarde said.

According to the ECB, a digital euro would be an electronic form of central bank money accessible to all citizens and firms.

The ECB launched a public consultation in October 2020 regarding a potential digital euro project. The consultation, which just concluded on Tuesday, received "the highest level of responses," Lagarde said. More than 8,000 people logged in and responded to the online questionnaire, according to the ECB president.

But Lagarde also stressed that the ECB needs to be "running safely" on launching a digital euro. Referring to a pilot digital yuan program by the Chinese central bank, she said she hopes it would be no more than five years before a digital euro is launched.

Lagarde said it would be difficult to give a time frame because "we don't know where the acceleration of the fintech world is going to take us."

The ECB said in a report in October that the Eurosystem will consider whether to start a digital euro project towards mid-2021, following thorough research and consultations.

Later on Wednesday, the ECB said in a statement that it will publish a comprehensive analysis of the public consultation in the spring this year, ahead of the official decision on the project launch.

The ECB said an initial analysis of the raw data collected from the public consultation shows that privacy of payments ranked highest among the requested features of a potential digital euro, followed by security and pan-European reach.

"The high number of responses to our survey shows the great interest of Europe's citizens and firms in shaping the vision of a digital euro," Fabio Panetta, Member of the ECB's Executive Board and Chair of the task force on a digital euro, was quoted as saying.

A total of 8,221 citizens, firms and industry associations submitted responses to its online questionnaire, according to the statement.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Du Mingming)

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