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Spain’s central bank prepares for E-day

A growth in bank note forgery is what most worries Spaniards about the introduction of a new currency. The euro could easily become a counterfeiter's dream if Spain's central bank does not take sufficient action to alert businesses and the public. The Bank of Spain (Banco de España) believes it has done so. The problem for the Bank for Spain - and other European central banks - is that to prevent false bills being accepted the public needs to be educated about the euro notes, so that people learn to recognise the new currency and can identify fake notes. On the other hand, to release too much information before the euro is actually in circulation is an invitation to counterfeiters to adjust their printing machines and start producing fake notes well in advance. There is a clear trade-off.

To deal with these competing interests, the Bank of Spain has decided to circulate information about the notes, and finally the notes themselves, gradually to different organisations. Small representative groups in banks, large chain stores and other big Spanish organisations, like the state train company, Renfe, are first to see them - they are currently being shown bills with one side printed so they can get to know their characteristics and pass this information on to their companies from September 1 2001 to prepare them for circulation on January 1 2002.

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