PRESS RELEASE

TARGET testing completed

17 December 1998

On 16 December 1998 TARGET completed its test programme. Testing with the 15 RTGS systems and the ECB payment mechanism (EPM) started in June 1997. TARGET will go live as planned at 7 a.m. (C.E.T.) on 4 January 1999.

TARGET testing was designed and conducted to ensure that the technical specifications were implemented correctly and to enable the TARGET service level - as published in July 1998 - to be met.

The European Central Bank and the national central banks would like to take this opportunity to thank the many hundreds of credit institutions which have participated in TARGET testing over the past months. Their active involvement and feedback have been a very positive factor in our preparation and fine-tuning. In particular, we should like to thank those who took part in the volume testing on 28 November 1998, when almost 100,000 test payments were processed during TARGET normal business hours.

The European Central Bank and the national central banks now look forward to providing the banking industry with an efficient and attractive payment system in euro from the start of Stage Three of EMU.

Further information is available from the ECB, at the following address:

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