In 2022 it will be 20 years since the Euro began to circulate in the hands of the citizens of the European Union, leaving behind the old currencies of the Member States. But even two decades after the arrival of the new currency, there are still billions that are no longer.
According to calculations made by Bloomberg, there are 8.5 billion euros in old currencies that can still be exchanged in each country's central banks.
The latest known data from the Portuguese central bank reveals that there are still 11.4 million escudo banknotes that have not been exchanged, corresponding to approximately 95 million euros, with more than a third of this amount representing banknotes worth five thousand escudos. The last set of escudo banknotes, from the Discoveries series, can still be exchanged until February 28, 2022.
Germany is home to the largest volume of banknotes and coins that can still be exchanged at the Bundesbank: together they have a value of around €6 billion. Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands follow, but the share that still exists in these places is less than one billion euros, according to the newspaper's accounts.
In Spain, Italy and France, citizens still have some old money kept under their mattress, but this is no longer of value. The forgotten pesetas, for example, could amount to more than one billion euros.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is already putting forward plans to develop new banknotes, which should be designed by 2024. The institution led by Christine Lagarde could also launch a digital euro, which would be an electronic form of central bank money accessible to all citizens and businesses.