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The Euro in a Nutshell


· Changeover scenario · Belgian Cash Changeover scenario · Euro zone countries · Coins and notes · Euro conversion rates · Decisions of 2 May 1998 · Key indicators











Changeover scenario


The introduction of the euro is part of the European construction process. Three stages have been planned for a smooth switch to the euro :1. Transition period (from 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2001) :This period is governed by three main principles :· The no compulsion, no prohibition principle (for using the euro). · The euro is the currency of the countries of the euro zone; national currencies only remain non-decimal subdivisions of the euro. · All forms of the euro can be used, except coins and notes. 2. Period of dual circulation of coins and notes (from 1 January 2002 to 31 January 2002 at the latest) :· All transactions are done in euros. · All bank accounts are converted into euros · Only national coins and notes are still in circulation. They are to be withdrawn as soon as possible. · This period should be short. Indeed, Ecofin Council recommends a dual circulation period of four weeks to two months. 3. Definitive period (starting on 1 July 2002 at the latest) :· National coins and notes have disappeared from circulation and are no longer legally valid. · Henceforth, the euro is the legal tender.





Belgian Cash Changeover scenario


Council of Ministers of 11 February 2000. Cash Changeover in Belgium


1 January 2002 start of the dual circulation period.


massive distribution of euro coins and notes.


cash dispensers distribute euros only.


28 February 2002 end of the dual circulation period.


1 March 2002 Belgian frank loses its legal tender status.


Until 31 December 2002 national coins and notes are exchangeable at banks, post offices and the National Bank of Belgium (NBB).


Until 31 December 2004 national coins are exchangeable at the NBB.


Unlimited period of time national notes are exchangeable at the NBB.





Euro zone countries


At the Brussels Summit of 1 to 3 May 1998, the Council of Heads of State or Government took the following practical decisions with regard to the introduction of the euro on 1/1/1999 and more particularly with regard to the official selection of countries participating in the euro since 1/1/1999. On 19 June 2000, in accordance with Article 122(2) of the Treaty on the adoption by Greece of the single currency on 1 January 2001, the Council decided that Greece fulfils the necessary conditions for the adoption of the single currency. Consequently, Greece integrated the euro-zone on 1 January 2001, taking the number of countries of the euro-zone to 12. · Austria · Belgium · Finland · France · Germany · Greece · Ireland · Italy · Luxembourg · The Netherlands · Portugal · Spain Mind : this selection as made on 1/1/1999 does not include Greece, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden, which make up the group of the "PRE-IN" countries. Greece will be able to join the EMU when it fulfills all the convergence criteria; the other three countries, when they express their desire to do so.





Coins and notes


Since the end of the second half of 1998, minting has started in the different participating countries. At the beginning of September 1998, the Belgian Royal Mint launched its own production. The National Bank of Belgium released the first banknotes in July 1999. Only coins will still carry a national side. Coins and notes produced by the countries participating in the euro zone will be put in circulation from 1/1/2002 onwards.The images of coins (common face and national face) and banknotes of the 12 euro-zone countries are displayed below.The euro will be subdivided into 100 cents.Eight coins (1; 2; 5; 10; 20; 50 cents, 1 euro and 2 euros);Seven notes (5; 10; 20; 50; 100; 200 and 500 euros).





Euro conversion rates


On 31 December 1998, after consultation of the European Central Bank, the European Commission determined the conversion rate of each currency of the participating countries. These rates have been approved at a Summit of the Finance Ministers in Brussels. The Council Regulation (EC) N° 1478/2000 of 19 June 2000 amending Regulation (EC) N° 2866/98 on the conversion rates between the euro and the currencies of the Member States adopting the euro inserted the Greek drachma in the list of conversion rates in force on 1 January 2001. 1 euro = 40,3399 Belgian francs


1,95583 German marks


166,386 Spanish pesetas


6,55957 French francs


0787564 Irish pounds


1936,27 Italian lire


40,3399 Luxembourg francs


2,20371 Dutch guilders


13,7603 Austrian schillings


200,482 Portuguese escudos


5,94573 Finnish marks


340,750 Greek drachmas (since 01.01.2001)





Decisions of 2 May 1998


At the Brussels meeting of 1 to 3 May 1998, the Council of Heads of State or Government took the following practical decisions with regard to the physical introduction of the euro on 1/1/1999 : · The official selection of countries participating in the euro as from 1/1/1999 : Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Finland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal (Greece, the United Kingdom and Sweden are not included in this selection made on 1/1/1999. They make up the group of the " PRE-IN countries". Greece will be able to join the euro zone when it fulfills all the convergence criteria; the other three countries, when they express the desire to do so); · The designation of the President and other members of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank; · The pre-announcement of bilateral rates between the participating currencies (based on the EMU central rates); · Approval of the European Commission's recommendations on the practical aspects of the transition to the euro.





Key Indicators


Statistics on Belgium can be found on this website under the theme "Economic information" in the section "Statistics of the NIS" and also on the Belgostat website. Any statistical information on the Economic and Monetary Union (euro zone) as well as on the European Union (EU-15 ) can be found on Eurostat.N.B. : the euro indicators are updated, according to the calendar, between 12.00 and 12.15 a.m. on the day that is indicated.pressoffice@eurostat.cec.be.
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