The euro is the currency used by the institutions of the European Union and it is the official currency of the euro area.

The euro started to circulate on 1 January 2002, and national notes and coins ceased to be legal tender on 28 February 2002. Thus, the euro became the new official currency in 12 countries.

With the passing of time, other countries outside the European Union including Vatican City, Monaco and San Marino, adopted the currency through agreements with EU countries (France in the case of Monaco, and Italy in the cases of Vatican City and San Marino). These agreements were subsequently renegotiated with the European Union.

As the Principality of Andorra had neither an official currency nor a signed agreement with a State to adopt its currency, and the peseta and French franc had circulated de facto in Andorra before being substituted by the euro from 1 January 2002, the Government of Andorra sent on 5 July 2003 a formal request to the European Union asking to negotiate a monetary agreement that would allow Andorra to officially adopt the euro as its legal currency and consequently allow Andorra to issue its own coins for circulation and collection purposes.

After a long period of negotiations with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, a Monetary Agreement was signed in Brussels on 30 June 2011 between the Principality of Andorra and the European Union.

According to the aforementioned Monetary Agreement, Andorra is entitled to use the euro as its official currency, as established under Council Regulation (EC) No. 1103/97 of 17 June 1997 on certain provisions relating to the introduction of the euro, and Council Regulation (EC) No. 974/98 of 3 May 1998 on the introduction of the euro. Accordingly, the Principality of Andorra has the right to issue euro coins and money-denominated collection coins, and it has the obligation to treat the euro notes and coins issued by the Eurosystem and by the Member States that have adopted the euro as legal tender.

The Principality of Andorra must ensure that the rules of the European Union on euro notes and coins, including the rules regarding the protection of the euro against counterfeiting, are applied in its territory.

For further information, see the Law 17/2013 of 10 October on the introduction of the euro in the framework of the Monetary Agreement signed between the Principality of Andorra and the European Union, as well as the Regulations implementing this Law.

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Only the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Central Banks of the euro area o euro zone are allowed to issue euro banknotes. In practice, only the National Central Banks (NCB) can issue euro notes and coins and remove them from circulation.

The production of notes in euros starts with the calculation made by the National Central Banks and the ECB of the number of notes required each year to replace unfit banknotes, foreseen and unforeseen demand.

Euro banknotes are identical, front and back, throughout the euro area. They have easily recognisable characteristics (size, colour, illustrations, safety signs) even for visually impaired people.

Genuine euro banknotes and coins are legal tender in all euro area countries and in some countries outside the euro area where their acceptance as a means of payment is mandatory. However, their use is subject to certain rules and limits, which may vary from country to country.


Since 1 January 2002, there have been seven denominations of legal tender notes in the euro zone: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 and their design reflects the architectural styles representing the seven periods of European cultural history.

Although the €500 banknote of the first series stopped being issued in 2019, it is still legal tender, it can continue to circulate and be used as a means of payment or be deposited as a security deposit. Like all other euro banknotes, the €500 banknote will remain in value indefinitely and can be redeemed at any NCB at any time.


In 2013, the launch of the Europe series began, with the issuance of the €5 banknote, with a new design and improvements in security and it continued in 2014, 2015 and 2017 with the issuance of the €10, €20, and €50 banknotes respectively. On 28 May 2019, the new €100 and €200 banknotes were put into circulation. With this latest issue, the Europe series is complete as it is not expected to include €500 banknotes.


Damaged and defective banknotes

With normal use, notes wear thin and get dirty even though the paper on which they are printed is very resistant (100% cotton). It also happens that the notes lose part of their surface or some of their elements because of tears, humidity, fire, etc.

Even though the National Central Banks renew the notes on a regular basis in order to maintain their quality, anybody who has a note in bad condition can present this note at any banking institution in the country, and it will subsequently hand it over to the AFA.

In this regard, the AFA hands in all deteriorated authentic euro notes that it has received to a central bank that is a part of the Eurosystem so that this central bank can analyse the notes and decide whether these deteriorated authentic euro notes are exchangeable or not.

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There are eight euro coins with the following denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes, and 1 and 2 euros. All the coins have one common side and another side that identifies the issuing country.

Additionally, in the member countries of the euro zone, other states such as Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City and Andorra have minted euro coins; in the case of Andorra, the signing of the Monetary Agreement with the European Union allows Andorra to mint euro coins and also to issue its own coins for circulation and collecting.

Damaged and defective coins

Even though the coins are resistant to use thanks to the material they are made of (copper, bronze, brass...), various factors such as deformation, corrosion, fire etc. mean that they can become defective or lose the definition of the motifs on their sides and edges.

Unlike notes, euro coins are the competence of each country rather than the ECB, although a country must first inform the European Commission if it wishes to issue a coin with a new design; the Commission will publish this information in the Official Journal of the European Union. This procedure is followed in order to control inflation and maintain price stability, and it avoids an excess of notes and coins in circulation. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the ECB to authorise the volume of coins issued by the countries of the euro zone. In the case of notes, it is the exclusive responsibility of the ECB to authorise issuances of coins and the volume of these.


Commemorative coins and coins for collection

Each country may issue up to two commemorative coins per year, and only €2 coins of a commemorative nature may be minted. These commemorative coins have the same characteristics, properties and common side as all other 2€ coins and they are differentiated by the commemorative motif that appears on the national side.

All commemorative coins are legal tender in the euro zone and, accordingly, they can be used and must be accepted like any other euro coin.

The coins for collection issued by Andorra are legal tender in Andorra although the AFA will take all appropriate technical measures to discourage the use of these coins as a means of payment.

The name of Andorra should be clearly and easily visible on the coins, and they may only be commercialised at their nominal value or above.

Very advanced printing technology is used in the manufacture of euro notes.

The euro notes have incorporated a series of well-identified security features that have a dissuasive effect, and which make it possible to easily distinguish legitimate notes from counterfeit ones without the need to use any special equipment. There is a series of security elements that can be checked:

  • “Feel”: the process incorporates a raised print that gives the notes a unique feel;
  • “Look”: if the note is held up to the light, the watermark, security thread and see-through register can be observed; all these features can be seen from both sides of the note; 
  • “Tilt”:
    • On the obverse side of lower denomination notes, the shifting image of the hologram foils strip can be seen; and
    • On the obverse side of higher denomination notes the hologram can be seen.
  • "Tilt”: 
    • On the reverse side, the brilliance of the iridescent stripe can be seen; and
    • On the reverse side, the ink changes colour.

If a note does not pass the “feel, look and tilt” test, it is likely that it is a counterfeit note and it should not be accepted, and the Police or the national authorities should be informed immediately.

In check that a note is authentic, any person can take it to a bank office where the authenticity of the note will be checked using special cash handling equipment. It is important to remember where, when and from whom the note was received as this information can help to locate the counterfeiters.

A crime is being committed if it is known or suspected that a note is counterfeit and a payment is then made using this note.

Bearing in mind that counterfeit notes have no value, no compensation is received when one is handed over to an institution or entity.


The European Central Bank (ECB) carefully monitors technological advances in the world of printing and reproduction as well as any developments related to the detection of counterfeit currency.

The technical and statistical data concerning counterfeit notes and coins shall be gathered and catalogued by the Centre Nacional d'Anàlisi (CNA) and the Centre Nacional d'Anàlisi de Monedes (CNAM) with the collaboration of the Oficina Central Nacional (OCN). The AFA sends these data to the ECB for storage and processing.

These data are analysed by the Central Banks of the Eurozone and by the Counterfeit Analysis Centre of the ECB which is responsible for coordinating technical and statistical information on counterfeiting. This information is kept in the database of the Centre and it is made available to the national security forces and other bodies that participate in the fight against counterfeiting.

The CNA, CNAM or OCN, through the AFA, and the European Commission have access to all the technical and statistical data of the ECB.

Entities that handle cash are obliged to guarantee the authenticity of the notes and coins that they intend to put back into circulation and to make sure they have been checked for any possible counterfeiting.

The entities operating in the financial system are also obliged to withdraw from circulation all the euro notes and coins received and which are known —or for which there are sufficient reasons to believe— to be counterfeited, and to immediately hand these over to the Centre Nacional d'Anàlisi de Monedes (CNAM) or to the Centre Nacional d'Anàlisi (CNA). Other entities and the general public must hand such notes over to the Oficina Central Nacional (OCN).

To facilitate the control of authentication of the euro notes and coins in circulation, the transport of alleged counterfeits is allowed between the competent national authorities, as well as the institutions and bodies of the European Union and Andorra.

The Andorran Financial Authority (AFA) and the Police Department are designated as the national authorities that are competent to detect counterfeit notes and coins.

The AFA is the competent authority with regard to euro notes and coins that are not appropriate for circulation, and it is also the competent authority to implement the technical standards necessary for the effectiveness of the implementation of Law 17/2013 of 10 October on the introduction of the euro within the framework of the Monetary Agreement signed between the Principality of Andorra and the European Union and the Regulations that implement this Law.

The AFA is also the competent authority to exercise disciplinary power over the entities that operate in the financial system while the Ministry responsible for the Interior, on which the Department of Police depends, is the competent authority to exercise disciplinary power over natural persons and entities that do not operate in the Andorran financial system.

The Centre Nacional d’Anàlisi (CNA) is the competent authority to gather and analyse technical and statistical information on the counterfeiting of euro notes; in this regard, the AFA is authorised to act as a CNA.

The Centre Nacional d’Anàlisi de Monedes (CNAM) is the competent authority to gather and analyse technical and statistical information on the counterfeiting of euro coins; in this regard, the AFA is authorised to act as a CNAM.

The Criminal Police Area of the Department of Police is designated as a Oficina Central Nacional (OCN), and it is the authority with competences to gather information on the counterfeiting of the euro and to proceed with its analysis.

The functions of the OCN include centralising any information that the investigation, prevention and suppression of the counterfeit currency might provide.

The OCN also issues any communications required to fulfil existing agreements or any agreements that may be established with Interpol and Europol in the future.

The functions of the OCN shall be developed in coordination with:

  • The issuing service of the Ministry responsible for finance;
  • Other areas, units and groups of the Department of Police; and
  • The central offices of the other member countries of the Geneva Convention.

The Ministry responsible for the Interior is the competent authority to exercise the disciplinary power over natural persons and entities that do not operate in the financial system.

The Competent National Authorities guarantee that national information on counterfeiting cases is sent to the corresponding bodies, both at home and abroad, in accordance with the agreements that have been signed.

In this regard, on 6 August 2020, the Andorran Police and the AFA signed a Memorandum of understanding.

The AFA exercises disciplinary power over all the entities that operate within the financial system and, to this end, it starts, processes and resolves disciplinary procedures and decides the corresponding sanctions whenever an infraction has been allegedly committed by entities operating within the financial system.

The Department of Police and the Ministry responsible for the Interior respectively are competent to start and process on the one hand, and to resolve on the other, disciplinary procedures when the breaches have been committed by natural persons or legal entities not operating within the financial system.

Regulated administrative offences may be committed by entities that handle cash or by the general public, and they are subject to sanctions within the limits established under Law 17/2013.