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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Energy crisis: Which everyday German products are increasing the most in price?

Inflation in Germany reached 10.4 percent in October – the highest level in 70 years. The Federal Statistical Office has now announced which prices have risen particularly sharply.

Energy crisis: Which everyday German products are increasing the most in price?

Energy prices

Energy prices in Germany have risen significantly as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the squeeze on cheap energy supplies and high energy prices are the biggest driver of inflation.

Despite the relief measures taken by the federal government over the past year, energy prices in October were 43 percent higher than in the same month last year.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s inflation relief measures to support people in cost of living crisis

According to the German Federal Statistical Office, household energy in particular has become significantly more expensive.

Prices for natural gas, for example, have more than doubled since last October – increasing by 109.8 percent.

The cost of heating with other energy sources has also risen sharply – the price of firewood, wood pellets or other solid fuels has increased by 108.1 percent since October 2021, while the price of heating oil has increased by 83 percent. Electricity prices have also increased by 26 percent.

A man fills up his car at a gas station in Duisburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Reichwein

Prices for gasoline and diesel have also risen by more than 22 percent since last year. In October, an average 40-litre tank of Super E10 cost €76 – €10 more than a year ago and €26 more than in 2020. 


According to the Federal Statistical Office’s report, private households are now paying on average 20.3 percent more for groceries than in October 2021.

The biggest price hike has been for edible fats and oils – such as butter and cooking oil – which have increased by 49.7 percent since last October.

A girl spreads butter on a slice of bread. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Patrick Pleul

Dairy products and eggs are 28.9 percent more expensive than a year ago, while vegetables and cereal products are 23.1 and 19.8 percent more expensive respectively.

The statisticians attribute the price increases to supply bottlenecks and problems in the upstream stages of the production chain as the main reasons for these cost hikes. 

READ ALSO: Fact check: Is Germany heading into a recession next year?

Prices for meat have also risen by 19.3 percent within the last year, as the cost of energy, fertilizer and feed has risen sharply, while labour shortages and minimum wage increases have made personnel costs more expensive.


Price increases – (die) Preiserhöhungen

Wood pellets – (die) Holzpellets

Heating oil – (das) Heizöl

Dairy products – (die) Molkereiprodukte

Cereal products – (die) Getreideprodukte

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.