A German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) has suggested that the founders of BioNTech, which developed the Pfizer vaccine, should be put on euro currency banknotes.
According to a suggestion by one German MEP, the two founders of vaccine company BioNTech (Biopharmaceutical New Technologies) should be put on upcoming redesigned Euro currency banknotes.
The suggestion comes after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that the bills would be getting a rework by 2024 in the hopes of making the notes “more relatable”.
According to a report by Die Welt, German MEP Moritz Körner has suggested that the founders of BioNTech, Turkish-Germans Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci, should be put on the bills.
“Important European personalities such as the BioNTech founding couple Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci should be printed on the new euro bills,” the publication reports Körner as saying.
“[Their] work has saved the lives of millions of Europeans. [Their] journey through life is an impressive story of integration, advancement, entrepreneurship, scientific excellence and the potential of an open immigration society.”
The publication notes that the two founders have made a billion-dollar fortune via the vaccine developed by their company with Pfizer.
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The undoubtedly controversial suggestion comes after one designer warned that a potential rework of the physical currency would not be without risk.
Speaking to Irish state broadcaster RTÉ, the Austrian designer behind the original bills, Robert Kalina, said that a redesign of the currency, especially one which includes people, could inflame national tensions.
“The question is whether people have come far enough to accept, for example, famous people being represented,” Kalina said. “Might it perhaps cause jealousy?”
While the original notes — as well as the Europa series refresh — depict various European-inspired architectural pieces, none of the depicted bridges and windows on the bills existed in real life at the time of the bills’ design.
However, while marking the 20th anniversary of the currency’s introduction, ECB head Christine Lagarde has stated that a redesign is in order.
“Euro banknotes are here to stay. They are a tangible and visible symbol that we stand together in Europe, particularly in times of crisis, and there is still a strong demand for them,” the ECB website reports its president as saying. “After 20 years, it’s time to review the look of our banknotes to make them more relatable to Europeans of all ages and backgrounds.”
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