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Mario Draghi has unveiled a brand-new version of the eurozone’s most popular banknote: the €50 bill.

In a dig at the European Central Bank’s critics, some of whom come from populist political parties, Mr Draghi said the single currency was frequently quoted by euro-area citizens as one of “the most important elements of European identity… after democracy and freedom”.

“Holding a euro banknote and knowing that it can be used in 19 countries is a reminder of the deep integration Europe has attained,” the ECB president said in Frankfurt on Tuesday at a ceremony to mark the launch of the new note.

He added that approval ratings for the single currency were, at 70 per cent, back to pre-crisis levels.

Cash remains Europeans’ preferred mode of payment and is used for more than three-quarters of transactions. The €50 is the most important denomination, with more than 9bn — or 46 per cent of all notes — in circulation.

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