A member of European Parliament suggested that Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, the married couple of Turkish descent who drew global praise for the innovative COVID-19 vaccine they developed, be depicted on one of the new euro banknotes.
In its search for new designs for future euro banknotes, the European Central Bank (ECB) has received a recommendation from the European Parliament.
Important European personalities like the BioNTech founding couple should be printed on the new banknotes, German Free Democrat (FDP) politician Moritz Körner of the European Parliament told the Sunday edition of Die Welt newspaper.
Their work saved the lives of millions of Europeans, he said. "Their life's journey is an impressive story of integration, advancement, entrepreneurship, scientific excellence and the potential of an open immigration society."
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Mainz-based vaccine manufacturer BioNTech had succeeded in a relatively short time in developing a vaccine against COVID-19 based on the so-called messenger RNA (mRNA) technique and, with studies completed, in bringing it through to approval in a relatively short space of time.
Şahin and Türeci were also previously given Germany’s highest award, the Knight Commander’s Cross of Order of Merit in March.
Şahin, an oncology expert, is the son of a family of Turkish immigrants who settled in the country in 1969. He is married to Özlem Türeci, the daughter of a Turkish surgeon in Germany and an accomplished physician who specialized in cancer treatment.
Twenty years after the introduction of the euro, the ECB has initiated a process to redesign the banknotes. The public is to have an extensive say in the process, but it will be years before the notes are actually revised.
The ECB's governing council is to decide in 2024 on the production of new banknotes and when they could be put into circulation.