PRESS RELEASE

Year 2000 - Closing of TARGET on 31 December 1999

31 March 1999

The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) has decided that, in view of the Year 2000 changeover, the TARGET system will be closed on 31 December 1999. The closing of TARGET includes both the Interlinking mechanism and all domestic euro RTGS systems participating in or connected to TARGET.

The Governing Council of the ECB is of the opinion that general preparatory work for the Year 2000 should not only cover testing activities, but should also include the adoption of preventive and supportive measures to avoid possible disruptions. In this respect, the closing of TARGET on 31 December 1999 will enhance the safety of the transition to the Year 2000, since it allows all end-of-day and end-of-year activities for all systems to be carried out and all backups of data to be finalised before midnight on that day.

The Governing Council is convinced that an early decision on this issue was necessary in order to give market participants time to adapt to this change in the calendar of TARGET operating days for 1999.

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