This applies to banknotes: I'm not opposed to a redesign per se but I don't think that a new design centred around actual people from history, works of arts or buildings would be a good choice. I don't associate people, works of art nor buildings with Europe (nor with the EU) but with their respective nation states. If the idea is that Europe, i.e. the EU represented in the Eurozone, is more than just an alliance of nation states this does not seem to be fitting. However, if the idea is that Europe is exactly that, an alliance of nation states, this would be a different story. Then actual people/works of art/buildings might be a possibility with all the associated debates and deals about who/which are going to be represented and where. Coins: I feel like the coins, due to their lower value compared to bank notes, do not obstruct the idea that the EU is more than an alliance of nation states. Rather they show how national identities can be summed up under a less concrete EUropean (sic!) identity, i.e. abstract bank notes of higher value.
None. Figures seem to be the worst choice to me. Sure, there are figures from history that have worked towards a more or less abstract goal of European unity or a European identity or project. They might stand for some European idea, but do they stand for the EU? Unlikely. More likely is that through putting them on the currency, we would decontextualise and oversimplify their ideas, which cannot be desirable. Then there are the 'founding fathers' of the EU. They certainly stand more directly for the EU as a concrete project. But do they stand for more than that? Do they stand for Europe outside the EU? Do they stand for a larger idea other than, say, the Coal and Steel Community? This is not to say the this in itself was not a big idea. But it is also to be seen in a specific historical and political context and I doubt that a picture of Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet or Jacques Delors (who, outside academia and politics, even knows how they look like?) would be a source for identification for many. Lastly, there is the option of using 'famous people form history' like Einstein, Curie, or Charlie Chaplin. As I said before, I doubt that they are perceived as Europeans. They are seen as citizens of their respective states. Which brings up the question: Who chooses them to be on a banknote? Who even qualifies to be on a banknote? Is it fame alone? Does it have to be an intellectual or is Franz Beckenbauer also fine? And isn't the story of the EU and modern Europe one of bloody wars, constant tensions and difficulty? Should we really look back into history and ignore these by choosing cool people everyone likes as symbols of modern EUrope? I think that if the creation of a European identify is to be supported by the design of a currency, it must be informed by history, but not attempted through the sheer depiction of people (or arts or buildings) from history. Let's stay abstract.
Historic figures from the country of origin of the note, it would create interest as the currency changes hands/countries
I would like to see Europe's rich history of graphic design reflected - think of the famous design from Finland to France to Spain to Poland that is not reflected on the current currency. We should have notes as well designed as the Swiss or Swedish. Estonia had nicer notes before it joined the Euro.
Historical figures are a bad idea and can always be divisive, even in the country they are from. Think of Churchill in the UK (racist)