PRESS RELEASE

Calendar of TARGET operating days for 1999

3 September 1998

The Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross settlement Express Transfer (TARGET) system, developed by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks of the European Union Member States, is the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system for the euro. It consists of fifteen national RTGS systems and the ECB Payment Mechanism, which are interlinked so as to provide a uniform platform for the EU-wide processing of large-value cross-border euro payments. TARGET has been developed to achieve three main objectives: to provide a safe and reliable mechanism for the transfer of cross-border payments on an RTGS basis; to increase the efficiency of intra-EU cross-border payments; and, most importantly, to serve the needs of the monetary policy of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and those of the euro money market.

In addition to Saturdays and Sundays, in 1999 TARGET will only close on the two public holidays that are common to all EU countries: Christmas Day and New Year's Day. TARGET will be open in all the countries of the European Union on all other days.

Assets eligible for ESCB credit operations will be available for use on all TARGET operating days, both domestically and on a cross-border basis.

The ECB will inform the financial community should any changes be made to the calendar of TARGET operating days after 1999.

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