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IP/01/233

Brussels, Frankfurt, 20 February 2001

European Central Bank and European Commission provide trainers of the blind, deaf and mentally disabled with dummy euro banknotes for training purposes

28,000 kits containing dummies of the new euro banknotes are now ready to be distributed to trainers of the blind and visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing as well as the mentally handicapped in the euro area. Produced by the European Central Bank and distributed by the European Commission, these dummy banknotes are an excellent tool for people who need specific practice in the recognition of the new euro banknotes.

The euro dummy banknotes look and feel like the real euro banknotes that will be put into circulation from 1 January 2002 onwards. They have the exact size, paper, colour and feel of the real banknotes. However, in order to avoid confusion with the real banknotes, they are printed on one side only with the words "NO VALUE". In order to avoid the risk of counterfeiting the dummy banknotes are individually numbered and do NOT have any of the security features which will be unveiled by the European Central Bank in September 2001. They will be distributed to trainers through the European Commission's and Member States' registered specialised networks.

The European Commission is also producing 22 training tools, including brochures and games, under the "Euro Made Easy" programme. The products developed by citizens, members of associations of vulnerable groups such as old persons, people in difficult economic and social situations as well as the blind, deaf, mentally disabled, are aimed specifically for those target groups. They include games such as a domino, a shopping simulation game, a card game and brochures such as an easy-to-read brochure, a cartoon and a guide for budget keeping. Produced in all languages of the euro zone the products will be distributed to specialised trainers in a network of associations from April onwards.

"All citizens of the euro area will have to learn a new unit of account language and how to recognise the new euro coins and banknotes. By promoting the "Euro Made Easy" programme and actions such as the euro training kits we want to ensure that people who have difficulties in accessing information will have the same opportunities to prepare themselves for using the euro as people who are reached by the information campaigns", said David Byrne, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection. Pedro Solbes, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs added:

"This initiative is a successful example of good co-ordination between the various actors involved in the euro changeover preparation. In the remaining period toE-day the Commission will intensify its efforts to co-ordinate initiatives across Member States, diffuse best practices and propose solutions to problems posed by various user groups. The Commission is committed to play its part in full to make E-day a success."

"The partnership with the European Blind Union (EBU), which represents seven million blind and partially sighted people in Europe, has been a long and fruitful one. The design of the new euro banknotes and coins, which incorporate the most advanced authentication features, takes into account the very special needs of blind and partially sighted people. The useful input from the EBU followed the principle that "good design for visually impaired people is good design for everyone", said Dr. Willem F. Duisenberg, President of the European Central Bank.

Similar training kits containing euro tokens will be produced by the national Mints, later this spring with financing of the European Commission. As with the dummy euro banknotes, they will be used to familiarise people suffering from sensory and intellectual disabilities with the new euro coins.


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