PRESS RELEASE

Successful launch of TARGET

4 January 1999

Today, Monday 4 January 1999, at 7 a.m. ECB time (C.E.T), the European System of Central Banks successfully began operating the TARGET system.

15 national real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems and the ECB Payment Mechanism are now linked together in TARGET, which securely processes euro transactions in real time.

The system is available for banks and their customers and already hundreds of cross border payments have been processed.

Further information will be available on the ECB's Web Site (http://www.ecb.europa.eu) later today.

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