EU Bankers to Discuss Creation of Centralised Digital Currency in Secretive Meeting – Report

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The creation of a Eurozone-wide digital currency is to be discussed at a secretive meeting of EU bankers this week, a report has claimed.

It is claimed that central bank tsars from across the European Union are to meet in Finland on Wednesday, where they will discuss the creation of a Eurozone-wide digital currency.

The meeting will involve the vast majority of the senior figures within the European Central Banking scene, with the heads of all 20 central banks in the Eurozone to be in attendance, as well as six members of the European Central Bank’s executive board.

Although the meeting had been previously announced to the public earlier this month, its agenda has largely been kept a closely guarded secret, with a press release from the Finnish central bank only saying that it will “cover various matters within the Governing Council’s responsibilities”.

POLITICO, however, now claims to have learned that the meeting will in part be about the creation of a centralised “digital euro” and how to get the general European public to accept its implementation.

It does not appear that this part of the meeting’s agenda was meant to leak out into the public sphere, with the head of Ireland’s central bank, Gabriel Makhlouf, seemingly expressing surprise when the publication asked him about the topic.

“Who told you that?” Makhlouf apparently asked the outlet when quizzed on the upcoming meeting.

The central bank head is described as refusing to elaborate much on the topic, other than saying that “the world is moving in the direction of digital” and that it would be “wrong” for the state to “decide that it’s going to opt out of providing a fiat currency that is digital and leave it entirely to the private sector”.

In many ways, news that Wednesday’s meeting will cover the issue of creating and marketing a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) for the Eurozone is not surprising, with the idea of creating such a highly controllable currency somewhat in vogue amongst the international elite.

According to POLITICO, European Central Bank officials are likely acting in response to the spread of cryptocurrencies as well as China’s digital yuan, both of which have seen significant public usage since their implementation, though for very different reasons.

Nevertheless, there has been some public scepticism about the implementation of such a digital currency, especially given the scope of centralised digital currencies for government monitoring and control. Unlike physical cash, digital currency use is easily trackable, with it near-certain that whatever entity is left in charge of the digital euro will be able to see where people spend their money, what people spend their money on, and who people spend their money with.

Such a CBDC would also conceivably be programmable, meaning that its central controller could be able to lock people’s spending only to certain items, objects or services.

Said entity could also conceivably tie the ability to spend the currency to other factors, meaning that the digital euro’s controlling body could use the currency to enforce restrictions on the purchase of alcohol, for instance. The centrally controlled currency could also theoretically be reworked in order to serve the bloc’s green agenda, preventing people from buying objects or services with a high carbon footprint once they go over a certain arbitrary threshold.

Officials within the bloc have been keen to promise that they will not do any of these things however, with ECB executive Fabio Panetta promising last month that the bloc would never take a China-style approach to the currency.

“The digital euro would never be programmable money,” he promised. “The ECB would not set any limitations on where, when or to whom people can pay with a digital euro.”

How believable such promises are in a post-COVID lockdown world remains to be seen, with many Europeans having only just come out of a period of draconian restrictions on their everyday life, partly enforced by limits on where and when people were allowed to spend their money.

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