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ECB unveils new 10-euro notes featuring mythic Europa

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(FRANKFURT) - The European Central Bank unveiled its new 10-euro banknotes on Monday, sturdier and less susceptible to counterfeiting, that will come into circulation from late September.

The ECB is gradually phasing in a brand new series of banknotes, all featuring the Greek mythological figure of Europa, to replace the original design in use since the euro became a physical currency in 2002.

The new five-euro notes were already launched last May and the 10-euro notes will follow in September.

The other denomination notes -- 20-euro, 50-euro, 100-euro, 200-euro and 500-euro -- will follow later.

"The new 10-euro banknote of the Europa series will start circulating on September 23," the ECB said in a statement.

Conversely, the current euro banknotes issued in January 2002 are gradually being pulled from circulation.

Like the new five-euro notes, the 10-euro notes will benefit from advances in banknote technology.

Its security features have been enhanced, making them "even more resistant to counterfeiting," the ECB said.

The figure of Europa -- from which Europe takes its name -- will be featured in the hologram and watermark of the new notes.

In Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess abducted to Crete by the god Zeus.

Other security features include a security thread and an emerald number in the bottom left hand corner.

The ECB is responsible for printing the euro banknotes, while euro coins are minted by the national mints.

According to new data compiled by the ECB, the number of counterfeit euro banknotes seized in the second half of last year was up over the preceding six months.

A total of 353,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in the period from July to December, up 11.4 percent over the period from January to June.

However, the number of counterfeits "remains very low in comparison with the number of genuine banknotes in circulation during that period (over 15 billion)," the ECB insisted.

In addition to the enhanced security, the new banknotes will be sturdier, thanks to a protective coating.

"This means that (the notes) will need to be replaced less frequently, thus lowering costs and reducing the impact on the environment," the central bank explained.

The size, format and architectural motif on the note remain the same as the old note, but the colour is more vivid.

The introduction of the new five-euro notes last year experienced a number of technical problems with vending machines refusing to accept them.

A spokesman on Monday for the national rail operator Deutsche Bahn said that software updates for recognising the new banknotes had been delayed for around half of the 7,000 ticket machines around the country.

Further software updates would also be needed for the new 10-euro notes, the spokesman said.

In Berlin, the BVG regional transport operator said that around one third of ticket machines were still not able to accept the new five-euro notes.

Further information, ECB

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