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The European Central Bank has announced it will stop printing €500 notes in 2018. It says the move is to stop the notes being used by money launderers and criminals. They are easily transportable. A million euros in €500 notes weighs 2.2 kilograms and can be carried in a laptop bag.
This week the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) concluded a review of the denominational structure of the Europa series. It has decided to permanently stop producing the €500 banknote and to exclude it from the Europa series, taking into account concerns that this banknote could facilitate illicit activities. The issuance of the €500 will be stopped around the end of 2018, when the €100 and €200 banknotes of the Europa series are planned to be introduced. The other denominations – from €5 to €200 – will remain in place.
In view of the international role of the euro and the widespread trust in its banknotes, the €500 will remain legal tender and can therefore continue to be used as a means of payment and store of value. The Eurosystem, which comprises the ECB and the euro area national central banks, will take steps to ensure that the remaining denominations are available in sufficient quantities.
The €500 banknote, like the other denominations of euro banknotes, will always retain its value and can be exchanged at the national central banks of the Eurosystem for an unlimited period of time.