Time to prepare for the “digital euro” – Chris MacManus MEP
Sinn Féin MEP and member of the EU Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee Chris MacManus has said it is time for Irish consumers, workers , businesses and others to prepare for the digital euro. He was responding to the latest progress report from the ECB on the issue.
“The latest update on the investigation phase of a digital euro shows that the ECB is very likely to proceed with a formal announcement of a “realisation phase” of a digital euro by next Autumn. This means that now is the time for Irish people to begin to plan for its introduction.
As the ECB puts it: “A digital euro would preserve the role of public money as the anchor of the payments system in the digital age”. This should be the goal but there are reasons to be concerned that the plans the ECB is progressing take a very conservative approach seemingly more concerned about protecting the banks than empowering workers and consumers.
The technology behind the digital euro removes much of the excuses that banks and intermediaries use to charge fees. The ECB should be clear that its aim is to create a system where using the digital euro is not just another cost on hard-pressed workers and another profit making scheme for banks.
As I have raised directly with the ECB, the public do not want a replacement for cash. Cash must be readily available and an option for all. The ECB have said this is their position but they must keep insisting on it to reassure the public.
I am also concerned that the use of Amazon as a partner in this exercise means that data protection and privacy and consumer rights seem to be low down in the ECB’s priorities.
One of the main issues the ECB is considering is whether people living outside the Eurozone can hold Digital Euro and if so to what extent. It is imperative that for people living on the island of Ireland we do not have another currency of partition. Under the Irish Protocol the north effectively remains in the single market for goods. It is important for business and everyday life that if the Euro adds a digital element that the entire island can use it.” ENDS