The European Central Bank’s (ECB) and the NCBs' (National Central Banks) right to issue euro banknotes also includes their competence to take any legal measures necessary to protect the integrity of euro banknotes as a means of payment.
In order to ensure that the general public is able to distinguish genuine euro banknotes from reproductions, it is necessary to establish common rules according to which the reproduction of euro banknotes will be permitted.
"Reproduction" shall mean any tangible or intangible image that uses all or part of a euro banknote or parts of its individual design elements such as, inter alia, colour, dimensions and use of letters or symbols, which image may resemble or give the general impression of a euro banknote.
Reproductions complying with the following criteria shall be deemed lawful since there is no risk that the general public might mistake them for genuine euro banknotes:
- one-sided reproductions of a euro banknote, provided that the size of the reproduction is at least 125% of both the length and width or at most 75% of both the length and the width of the respective euro banknote; or
- two-sided reproductions of a euro banknote, provided that the size of the reproduction is at least 200% of both the length and width or at most 50% of both the length and width of the respective euro banknote; or
- reproductions of individual design elements of a euro banknote, provided that such a design element is not depicted on a background resembling a banknote; or
- one-sided reproductions depicting a part of the front side or reverse side of a euro banknote, provided that such a part is smaller than one third of the original front side or reverse side of the euro banknote; or reproductions made of a material clearly different from paper, which looks distinctly different from the material used for banknotes; or
- intangible reproductions made available electronically on websites, by wire or wireless means or by any other means that allow members of the public to access these intangible reproductions from a place and at a time individually chosen by them, provided that the word SPECIMEN is printed diagonally across the reproduction in Arial font or a font similar to Arial font. The length of the word SPECIMEN is at least 75% of the length of the reproduction and the height of the word SPECIMEN is at least 15% of the width of the reproduction, and is in a non-transparent (opaque) colour contrasting with the dominant colour of the respective euro banknote, and the resolution of the electronic reproduction in its original size does not exceed 72 dpi.
Reproduction rules for euro banknotes also apply to euro banknotes that have been withdrawn or have lost their legal tender status.
- The common rules for the reproduction of euro banknotes are laid down in the Decision of the European Central Bank of 19 April 2013 (ECB/2013/10);
- Monetary Policy Council Act;
- ECB Guideline on the enforcement of measures to counter non-compliant reproductions of euro banknotes and on the exchange and withdrawal of euro banknotes (ECB/2013/11) .