PRESS RELEASE

Outcome of the Governing Council meeting on 15 March 2001

15 March 2001

As already indicated in the press release on the monetary policy decisions, today's Governing Council meeting was held by means of teleconferencing. The Governing Council decided on the following issues:

With regard to the cash changeover, the Governing Council decided to establish a Eurosystem Cash Changeover Co-ordination Committee comprising representatives from the ECB and the 12 Eurosystem national central banks. The Committee will have overall responsibility for the co-ordination of the changeover to euro banknotes and coins in the period before 1 January 2002 until the end of February that year. It will monitor the preparatory work relating to the organisation of the issuance of, and changeover to, the euro banknotes and coins as well as establish a Eurosystem-wide information exchange framework for the period prior to and after 1 January 2002. Similar Committees had previously been established in connection with the changeover to the euro at the end of 1998 and the transition to the year 2000.

With regard to euro banknote production, the Governing Council approved an additional production amounting to around 10% of the launch requirements. This central reserve arrangement is a further measure intended to contribute to a smooth cash changeover. The Eurosystem is currently also investigating a limited banknote thread quality problem. The problem has been detected in one batch of euro banknotes and tests are under way to establish the precise nature of the deterioration in quality. The launch volumes envisaged for 1 January 2002 will not be affected.

The ECB has been following the work of the Committee of Wise Men with interest and has assessed its report on the regulation of European securities markets to which it had provided its contribution from a central banking perspective. In general, the Governing Council considers the final report as a satisfactory outcome that should be able to lead to a more harmonised and flexible regulatory framework in the securities field. The ECB stands ready to contribute to the new regulatory process and to the implementation of other relevant recommendations. The position of the Governing Council has been formally conveyed to the Presidency of the ECOFIN Council and the Eurogroup.

The Governing Council furthermore adopted a Recommendation for an EU Council Regulation concerning the application of minimum reserves by the ECB. It recommends that the time limit for the Governing Council to review decisions on the imposition of sanctions on counterparties for non-compliance with minimum reserve requirements be brought into line with the regime applicable to other sanctions, i.e. two months. This Recommendation will be transmitted to the EU Council and published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

The Governing Council also took note of the annual report on the activities of the Anti-Fraud Committee, which had been established by the ECB Decision on fraud prevention in October 1999. The report covers the period from January 2000 to January 2001 and will be published on the ECB's website in all official Community languages in due course.

Finally, the Governing Council decided to reschedule its Dublin meeting for 21 June 2001.

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