The European Union’s desire to stop terrorist’s getting financing means the 500 euro bill could become a thing of the past. The Finance ministers for the 28 member States have asked the Commission and the Central Bank (BCE) to make a decision on the largest piece of European currency.
Although the 500 euro bills are used very little by the general public and refused by many shops, they represent a third of the cash in circulation in Europe. They are often used for criminal activities, which is one of the ways terrorist groups finance themselves.
On Friday, the Finance ministers for the 28 member States discussed a plan of action drawn up by the Commission, which aims to shut down terrorist’s sources of financing. This is why they discussed the future of the 500 euro bill. The ministers asked the European Commission to contact Europol and the BCE, who make the final decision on whether to get rid of a bill. The vice-president of the Commission in charge of the Euro, Valdis Dombrovskis, promised to submit a report about it on the 1st of May.
The ministers also discussed the possibility of putting a limit on cash payments, if necessary. This would make payments easier to trace. They also talked about the Commission’s proposition of including virtual money such as bitcoin in the anti-laundering directive.