European Central Bank | Date: 2017-04-12
The invention relates to an apparatus (100) for a document sorting machine, in particular a banknote sorting machine, comprising: an inspecting plate (1) of a sensor unit and a conveyor belt-free and/or roller-free gap, the belt-free and/or roller free gap being configured to accommodate the inspecting plate (1); the length of the gap being substantially shorter than the length of the document, the apparatus (100) further comprising at least one hollow air guide between an outlet of a valve and an outlet of the air guide at an end of the air guide opposite to the outlet of the valve for blowing air on a document moving along the inspecting plate (1), wherein the cross-sectional area of the air guide remains either constant or increases between the outlet of the valve towards and until the outlet of the air guide including the cross-sectional area of the outlet of the air guide. The invention also relates to a document sorting machine and methods.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.8.0 | Award Amount: 3.78M | Year: 2010
In this project we set up an interdisciplinary consortium of computer scientists, physicists, economists and policy makers to deal with the problem of understanding and forecasting systemic risk and global financial instabilities. By leveraging on expertise in the various disciplines, we want to provide a novel integrated and network-oriented approach to the issue. On one hand, we will offer a theoretical framework to measure systemic risk in global financial market and financial networks. On the other hand, we will deliver an ICT collaborative platform for monitoring systemic fragility and the propagation of financial distress across institutions and markets around the world. Experts will be able to evaluate algorithms and models to forecast financial crises as well as visualise interactively possible future scenarios.
News Article | February 20, 2017
Reform of the regulatory framework and banking supervision in Angola A delegation of the National Bank of Angola (BNA) headed by Governor Valter Duarte da Silva was in Paris for meetings with the Bank of France and other French banking system institutions, to strength institutional relations and raise awareness in the French financial sector for the reform of the regulatory and banking supervision framework in Angola. Through the BNA, Angola has developed a very strong effort to quickly adapt its financial system to international prudential standards and good practices with the objective of restoring international credibility and confidence in the Angolan financial system, aiming its recognition abroad by their counterparts. BNA has been imposing on Angolan commercial banks the adoption of best practices in financial regulation and supervision, and as a result of this effort seven of the largest banks operating in Angola have already adopted International Accounting and Reporting Financial Statements Standards. "Our expectation is that the European Central Bank and the United States Federal Reserve will recognize the National Bank of Angola as an entity of equivalence in banking regulation and supervision in the first half of this year," said Valter Duarte Silva. The Angolan visit to the French capital is part of a program of contacts and visits of the BNA to the world's financial centers. The BNA has developed several contacts with international institutions and counterparts such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Federal Reserve of the United States, the Bank of England, the Bank of France, the Bank of Italy, the Bank of Portugal And the Reserve Bank of South Africa in order to adapt to good banking supervision practices in Europe and the United States, and to show what has already been done in Angola, as well as to train its technicians and senior management. "Our work has been developed in partnership with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and in close collaboration with the central banks of Portugal, South Africa, Italy, the United Kingdom, France and the United States of America, with which we have already established protocols for training human resources and for technical assistance," said the governor of the BNA. The Angolan delegation has held meetings at the highest level with the Governor of the Bank of France, Mr. François Villeroy Galhau, and with representatives of French banks such as BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Natixis, as well as institutions such as the French Banking Federation, MEDEF International, The International Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Paris Club.
European Central Bank | Date: 2011-03-16
The present invention proposes a method for generating a security bi-level image used to form one of the inks of a banknote, said image comprising an original bi-level image and a security pattern, said security pattern being obtained in the spatial domain by the inverse Fourier transform of the combination in the frequency domain between the Fourier transform of an auxiliary image and a two-dimensional sweep, said two-dimensional sweep being a circularly symmetric, two-dimensional pattern created by sweeping a self-similar, one-dimensional function along a 360-degree arc, such as said security pattern being detectable from the maximum value of the cross-correlation of said one-dimensional function with the Fourier transform of one line of said banknote, said method comprising the step of :- determining a distance map of the original bi-level image,- generating a merged image by linearly interpolating at least a part of said distance map with said security pattern,- thresholding the merged image to obtain the security bi-level image,- applying the security bi-level image on a support.
European Central Bank | Date: 2015-04-15
The invention relates to a security element for a valuable document comprising a substrate, a first groove on a first surface of the substrate, a second groove on a second surface of the substrate, the second surface being opposite to the first surface wherein the first groove and the second groove are aligned with each other such that first groove and the second groove are substantially superposed and a first foil is arranged in the first groove and a second foil is arranged in the second groove such that the thickness of the first foil and the thickness of the second foil are partially compensated by the dimensions of the first groove and the second groove. The invention also relates to a valuable document comprising the security element as well as to methods of manufacturing the security element and the valuable document.
European Central Bank | Date: 2016-12-14
The invention relates to an apparatus for a document sorting machine, in particular a banknote sorting machine. The apparatus (100) comprises: a first suction block (2); a second suction block (3); a first conveyor unit (50) for moving the document along a document guiding surface of the first suction block (2) and a second conveyor unit (51) for moving the document along a document guiding surface of the second suction block (3), the first suction block (2) and the first conveyor unit (50) and the second suction block (3) and the second conveyor unit (51) being arranged on opposite sides of a conveyor belt-free gap, the belt-free gap being configured to accommodate an inspecting plate (1) of a sensor unit; wherein the length of the gap is substantially shorter than the length of the document. The invention also relates to a document sorting machine and methods.
European Central Bank | Date: 2014-10-15
The invention relates to a security feature representing predetermined machine readable data and being adapted to an inherent characteristic of an object to which the security feature is applied. The invention also relates to an object comprising the security feature.
European Central Bank | Date: 2013-01-09
The present invention relates to a security document comprising a substrate 1 and an optical security element 5 incorporated in the substrate and relates to a method for checking the authentication of the security document. Moreover, the invention relates to a method for protecting a security document against forgery and for the authentication of the security document. The security document according to the invention comprises a first liquid-crystal layer structure 7, the liquid-crystal molecules thereof having a first predetermined orientation pattern for storing information, a polariser 8, and a second liquid-crystal layer structure 8, the liquid-crystal molecules thereof having a second predetermined orientation pattern for storing information. The information stored in the first and second liquid-crystal layer structures 7, 8 is not visible by the naked eye without an inspection tool. The method for checking the authentication of the optical security element according to the invention is based on the use of a liquid-crystal display, for example a mobile phone or a camera, as a means for providing polarised light. Both the first information stored in the first liquid-crystal layer structure and the second information stored in the second liquid-crystal layer structure are independently visible for the public using the mobile phone or the camera. Thus, the optical security element allows authentication of the security document by observing both the first and second information which can be a text or an image or a combination of text and image.
News Article | February 14, 2017
The standoff between Greece and its creditors has escalated, with the embattled Athens government vowing it will not give in to demands for further cuts as data showed the country’s economy unexpectedly contracting. As thousands of protesting farmers rallied in Athens over spiralling costs and unpopular reforms, the Hellenic statistical authority revealed that Greek GDP shrank by 0.4% in the last three months of 2016. After growth of 0.9% in the previous three-month period the fall was steep and unforeseen. On Monday the European commission announced that the eurozone’s weakest member was on course to achieving a surplus on its budget of 2.3% after exceeding its 2016 fiscal targets “significantly”. The setback came as prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ lefist-led coalition said it would not consent to additional austerity beyond the cuts the country had already agreed to administer under its third, EU-led bailout programme. Speaking on state TV, the digital policy minister Nikos Pappas, Tsipras’ closest confidant, insisted that ongoing differences between the EU and International Monetary Fund over how to put the debt-stricken state back on the road to recovery were squarely to blame for the failure to conclude a compliance review at the heart of the standoff. The IMF has argued vigorously that extra measures worth 2% of GDP will have to be enforced with immediate effect if Greece is to achieve a high post-programme primary surplus of more than 1.5%. “The negotiations should have ended. Greece has done everything that it was asked to do,” he said and added there would be “no more measures”. The future of the €86bn financial aid programme is contingent on Athens implementing agreed economic reforms. The IMF has repeatedly said it will not sign up to the programme unless the crisis-plagued country is given more generous debt relief in the form of a substantial write-down. With Greece facing a €7bn debt repayment to the European Central Bank in July, fears of a Greek default have once again hit markets with shares falling and interest rates on Greek debt rising. But Tsipras is also under pressure from back-benchers in his fragile two-party administration. After seven years of adopting grueling austerity in return for emergency bailout aid many are openly questioning the wisdom of applying yet more measures that have already put Greece in a permanent debt deflationary cycle. All eyes are now on a flying visit Europe’s economics chief Pierre Moscovici will make to Athens on Wednesday. Government sources said they were hoping the EU commissioner would come with an “honourable compromise” acceptable to all so that stalled negotiations could resume with the return of auditors as soon as possible. But the eurozone chief, Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, warned it was unlikely a solution would be found before the next meeting of finance ministers representing countries in the currency bloc on 20 February – raising the spectre that Greece could be headed for a rerun of 2015 when it teetered towards euro exit. On Monday, Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, raised the stakes further saying Greece could not be singled out for special treatment. “We have been asked to help, but can only help at terms and conditions that are even-handed,” she told Reuters. “In other words we cannot cut a special sweet deal for a particular country because it is that county.” Despite the delay, Greek officials have repeatedly voiced optimism that the review will soon be concluded. Amidst the uncertainty the real economy has been put on hold with non-performing bank loans and private debt ballooning. This week the head of the Greek public power corporation, DEH, said lack of liquidity was such that the body was on the verge of bankruptcy.
News Article | February 22, 2017
Knocked off the front pages by Brexit and Donald Trump, Greece is back on the agenda. The country’s two most important creditors will meet in Berlin on Wednesday when the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, hosts the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde. It could be a fateful meeting. Europe and the IMF have been at loggerheads for months over whether Greece will ever be able to repay its debts – a disagreement that has stopped the Washington-based fund from signing up to a €86bn-bailout programme crafted by EU leaders in July 2015. Merkel and other European leaders, who face elections, are anxious to bring the IMF on board, to persuade sceptical voters the bailout is credible. Now signs of a compromise are emerging. This week eurozone leaders echoed the IMF in talking of the end of austerity, increasing the chances the fund will join the Greek bailout. Pierre Moscovici, the European commissioner for economic affairs, reported that 19 finance ministers of the single currency agreed that the Greek people needed to see “light at the end of the tunnel of austerity”. But while the bailout chiefs are poised to agree on a route map, the journey for the Greek people seems no less long and arduous. The crux of the dispute between the IMF and EU is a European demand for Greece to maintain a budget surplus of 3.5% for a decade from 2018, a feat few governments in the world have managed, much less one in a country with a 23% unemployment rate. The IMF has been arguing for months that Greece cannot meet this target. “Greece does not need more austerity at this time,” two senior IMF officials wrote in a recent blog post, adding that the target for a primary budget surplus – the gap between government income and spending, excluding interest payments and national debt – would generate “a degree of austerity that could prevent the nascent recovery from taking hold”. The EU maintains that the 3.5% target is achievable. But after a meeting of eurozone ministers on Monday, European creditors edged closer to the IMF view that more focus is needed on economic reforms, less on austerity. To deliver these “deep reforms”, all sides agreed that EU and IMF bailout inspectors will return to Athens soon to discuss an overhaul of Greece’s tax and pension systems, as well as labour market reforms. In Athens commentators have been desperately trying to decode the Eurogroup agreement. It was not lost on many that what was being billed as an “agreement to agree” – the key to allowing bailout auditors to finally return to Greece and resume stalled talks – had been struck exactly two years to the day after a similar accord by the country’s leftist-led government. Then, the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, had signed up to a temporary deal that allowed “fiscal breathing space” before embarking on six months of nail-biting negotiations that eventually led to Athens accepting the harshest terms attached to a bailout since the crisis began. Despite the change in tone – and talk of a new policy mix – the consensus was that Monday’s agreement of “common understanding” amounted to much of the same with reforms becoming the new byword for further cuts. After vowing not to undertake more austerity, Tsipras’ fragile two-party coalition found itself on the back foot, accused across the board of crossing its own red lines. “The government is trying to save its image claiming that the policy mix is supposedly changing,” the Greek daily Ta Nea proclaimed from its front page. “But the only thing it has achieved is the pre-legislation of harsh measures that the troika [European commission, European Central Bank and IMF] will approve when it returns.” “What we are seeing is a war of propaganda, a lot of doublespeak,” Dimitris Tsiodras, spokesman of the centrist Potami party told the Guardian. “The only thing that has been attained, in reality, is the return of the troika.” How Tsipras will sell the concessions to his compatriots, including increasingly disillusioned members of his own Syriza party, will play a central role in whether Greece now plunges into renewed political turmoil. Addressing reporters, the government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos ratcheted up the rhetoric, calling on Germany to see sense now that all sides had made concessions. “We expect the German finance ministry to take back its unreasonable demand for [Greece to achieve] primary surpluses of 3.5% for a decade and to adopt a more constructive stance so that a reduction of the Greek debt over the medium term can be agreed.” Simon Tilford, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform, a thinktank, said he believed the IMF and eurozone would find a compromise, whereby the fund signed up to the 3.5% target for a limited period of time, as the price of stabilising the eurozone in an election year. “My feeling is they will largely settle for a fig leaf. It will be made to look as if the pace of austerity has been eased, ie that the eurozone will agree that the size of the primary budget surplus will be reassessed at some specified point in the future.” “All we are going to see us another round of extend and pretend.” He added that this would not do anything “significant to alleviate the pressure we see on Greece”. He pointed out that even a primary budget surplus of 1.5% (favoured by the IMF) “would still mean ongoing austerity in Greece”. The IMF’s reforms may also prove politically difficult to sell to a population reeling from nearly eight years in the EU’s bailout regime. One of the IMF’s key demands is an overhaul of the Greek tax system to ensure more middle-class professionals pay their dues. More than 50% of Greek wage earners do not pay income tax, compared with 8% in the rest of the eurozone. But the low tax take partly reflects the economic collapse that has pushed down wages and squeezed people out of regular work. Reforming pensions, another IMF priority, may also run into trouble. The fund wants to rein in “extremely generous” Greek pensions that absorb 11% of national income. But Greek pensions have already been slashed since 2010, with 43% of pensioners living on €660 a month, compared with an average annual income of €20,000 for over-65s in other eurozone countries, according to government figures. Many Greek pensioners are also supporting unemployed children and grandchildren, as other benefits have been cut. With these politically tough reforms ahead, the light at the end of tunnel looks dim and distant. “Greeks are facing ongoing austerity into the foreseeable future,” Tilford says.