New €50 note is forgeable, claims German police union

The European Central Bank (ECB) unveiled a new "state-of-the-art" €50 bill on Tuesday. A German police union said criminals would find a way to forge it.

New €50 note is forgeable, claims German police union
Real and forged €50 notes. Photo: DPA

Starting in 2013, the ECB in Frankfurt has slowly been working through the euro notes from the €5 up to the €10 and the €20, attempting to make them harder to counterfeit.

On Tuesday they unveiled the new €50 note, saying the re-designed bill would help battle fraud and demonstrate the bank's commitment to cash.

“State-of-the-art security features help protect our money,” ECB executive board member Yves Mersch said in a statement.

The new-look €50 note boasts a transparent window with a holographic portrait of the Greek mythological figure Europa and a so-called “emerald number” that changes colour from green to blue when viewed at different angles.

Complex visual features like these are supposed to make identifying counterfeit bills quicker and easier.

But the head of the German Police Union (DpolG) told Spiegel that the new note can in no way be described as forgery-proof.

The new security features “might lead to forgeries being more easily identified and make the life of police easier,” said DpolG boss Rainer Wendt.

But it would be dangerous to give the impression that these new notes are somehow 'unforgeable', he asserted.

“They’ll find a way to forge even these notes.”

The €50 bill is the most widely used note, accounting for around 45 percent of the total number of euro banknotes in existence, meaning there are more of them in circulation than the three smaller denominations put together.

Because of this, the note is the jackpot for all money forgers. The €50 is forged more than any other paper bill produced by the ECB in Frankfurt.

2015 was a record year for authorities finding fake notes in circulation. The ECB counted 899,000 that had been pulled out of circulation, the highest since the euro was introduced in 2002. Half of the forgeries were €50 notes.

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Where in Germany do people have the highest disposable income?

An economic study has shown huge regional differences in income throughout Germany. So which parts of the country have the most to spend each month, and which are feeling the squeeze?

Where in Germany do people have the highest disposable income?

A study by the Economic and Social Sciences Institute (WSI) of the Hans-Böckler foundation reveals stark regional differences in disposable income in Germany. In some cases, households had as much as double the spending money of those in other parts of the country. 

Here’s where people have the most – and least – disposable income each month.

What is disposable income?

The WSI calculated disposable income as the sum of income from wealth and employment, minus social contributions, income taxes, property taxes and other direct benefits or taxes.

What’s left is the income which private households can either spend on consumer goods or save.

The study, which was based on the most recent available national accounts data for 2019, looked at the disposable income of all of the 401 counties, districts and cities across Germany.

Which regions have the highest and lowest disposable incomes?

The study found that the regions with the highest disposable incomes were in the southern states.

Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg had the highest disposable income of all 401 German counties and independent cities – with an average per capita disposable income of €42,275. The district of Starnberg in Bayern followed in second place with €38,509.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: How much do employees really earn across Germany’s states?

By comparison, per capita incomes in the cities of Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg in North Rhine-Westphalia were less than half as high, at €17,015 and €17,741 respectively. These regions had the lowest disposable income in the country. 

The study also found that, more than thirty years since German reunification, the eastern regions continue to lag behind those in the west in terms of wages.

According to the WSI, the Potsdam-Mittelmark district is the only district in the former east where the disposable per capita income of €24,127 exceeds the national average of €23,706.

Do regional price differences balance things out?

The study also showed that regionally different price levels contribute to a certain levelling out of disposable incomes, as regions with high incomes also tend to have higher rents and other living costs.

“People then have more money in their wallets, but they cannot afford more to the same extent,” WSI scientist Toralf Pusch explained.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: When will Germany raise the minimum wage?

Therefore, incomes in the eastern states, adjusted for purchasing power, are generally somewhat higher than the per capita amounts would suggest.

That could explain why, even after price adjustment, the cities of Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg in western Germany continue to be at the very bottom of the list.

Saxon-Anhalt’s Halle an der Saale, on the other hand, which has an average disposable income of only €18,527, benefits from the lower prices in the east.