Paper Money

France building new euro note printing plant

Model shows Bank of France’s planned new printing facility, to be ready in 2026.

Image courtesy of Agence Ataub.

The use of cash is supposed to be dying, but you wouldn’t know it based on the amount of central bank construction going on. France joins the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Spanish Ministry of Finance in each constructing a new bank note printing plant.

Le Figaro and Agence France-Presse report that the Banque de France expects its new plant to be ready in 2026. It is located in Vic-le-Comte, in the Auvergne region of central France 275 miles south of Paris. It will replace the current plant about 18 miles away in Chamalières that is over a century old and was the scene of a violent but nonfatal fire on Feb. 9. The new facility will be located on the site of the Banque de France’s paper mill. The bank employs 300 people at the mill and 700 at its printing works.

Construction was approved by a unanimous vote of the bank’s general council. It was envisaged for several years, even long before the fire, and is expected to cost €220 million.

France will have, the bank said in a statement, “the most modern, efficient and environmentally friendly public banknote production facility in Europe.” Its aim is to “improve working conditions and competitiveness in the production of banknotes, mainly euros and CFA francs, and to guarantee the sovereignty of this sensitive production.”

“This is good news,” said Hugo Coldeboeuf, union representative of the Banque de France labor force, “for the employees but also for the sustainability of the missions in the public fold.” The union will be, however, “attentive to the non-deterioration of the working conditions at the time of the removal.”

The new Spanish printing plant recently opened near Madrid, and the BEP projects its facility in Beltsville, Maryland, to be completed in 2027.

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