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Parliamentary questions
17 July 2008
Answer given by Mr Almunia on behalf of the Commission

In accordance with the third sentence of Article 106(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Community and Article 10 of Council Regulation (EC) No 974/98 of 3 May 1998 on the introduction of the euro(1), all notes denominated in euro are legal tender. While Article 11 of the regulation limits the number of coins any party is obliged to accept, it contains no provisions with regard to notes. The notes denominated in euro are defined in a Decision of the Board of Governors of the European Central Bank (ECB).

There is no rule of Community law which provides for recourse against any restrictions on the acceptance of certain notes. Different provisions may apply under the civil law and monetary law of the Member States.

The Commission is aware of the fact that some shop outlets within the euro area refuse to accept EUR 200 and EUR 500 banknotes.

This practice seems rather stable over time and existed already before 2002 for the legacy currencies’ large denomination banknotes, generally with a view to reducing the change to be given by the retailer.

If the retailers clearly inform their clients of their policy concerning high denomination banknotes (e.g. through signs visible in the shops), the consumer who buys in the shop is often considered as having entered into a contractual relationship with the shopkeeper and tacitly accepted the conditions stated. Some euro area countries may however have different rules.

(1)OJ L 139, 11.5.1998.

OJ C 999, 01/01/2009
Last updated: 8 August 2008Legal notice