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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Economic and Monetary Union

 

1962    1970    1972/73    1979    1989    1993    1994    1995    1999    2001    2002

1962

The Commission submits a three-stage plan for increased monetary cooperation to the Council. This plan provides for the establishment of a currency union by 1971. However, the Member States do not take up this plan.

 

1970

Following the call by the Heads of State and Government to establish economic and monetary union (EMU), a committee is set up under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Werner of Luxembourg. It draws up a programme for gradual establishment of EMU within ten years. The explicit objective of this plan is to complete the internal market by 1980, to fix the exchange rates and to unite the Member States in an economic and monetary union.

 

1972/73

This plan is thwarted by the turbulent events on the international currency markets, which lead to the collapse of the Bretton-Woods system, and by the subsequent oil crisis. Nevertheless, the European currency “snake” and the European Monetary Cooperation Fund are created.

 

1979

The European Monetary System (EMS) enters into force. Its objective is to create a zone of monetary stability in Europe with fixed, but adjustable, exchange rates

 

1989

The committee set up by Jaques Delors, the President of the European Commission, submits a three-stage plan for economic and monetary union, which is approved by the Heads of State and Government. 

 

1993

The Treaty of Maastricht enters into force. A key aspect of the Treaty is the creation in three stages of an economic and monetary union (EMU) with a common currency by 1999.

1st stage: from 1 July 1990

  • Liberalisation of capital movements
  • Increased efforts to achieve economic convergence

2nd stage: from 1 January 1994

  • Creation of the European Monetary Institute (EMI)
  • Convergence reports by the Commission and the EMI

The economic convergence criteria that must be met to qualify for participation in EMU are: low inflation rate, sound public finances, stable currency and low long-term interest rates.

  • European Council decision on the countries eligible to join the third stage of currency union.
  • Creation of the European Central Bank
  • Irrevocable fixing of the conversion rates between the national currencies and the common currency

3rd stage: from 1 January 1999

  • Introduction of the euro as book money
  • Introduction of the euro currency

 

1994

The European Monetary Institute is set up with the mission to prepare currency union.

 

1995

Austria and Sweden join the exchange rate mechanism of the European Monetary System. Finland follows in 1996.

In Madrid, the Heads of State and Government confirm 1 January 1999 as the starting date for EMU. The name “euro” is chosen for the new currency.

1998: The EMI is dissolved and the European Central Bank (ECB) established. Wim Duisenberg is appointed the first president of the ECB.

The conversion rates between the national currencies and the euro as at 1 January 1999 are irrevocably fixed on 31 December 1998. Denmark and the United Kingdom have an opt-out clause. This means that they have the right under the EU Treaty not to participate in EMU from the outset.

 

1999

The third stage of EMU and hence the single currency policy begin on 1 January. The euro is introduced as book money in eleven Member States. The Austrian schilling and the currencies of the ten other countries participating in the euro area are a sub-division of the euro.

 

2001

Greece introduces the euro on 1 January.

 

2002

The euro notes and coins are introduced: from 1 January the euro is legal tender in all twelve countries of Euroland.

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Date: 31.12.2005