PRESS RELEASE

Presidency of the European Central Bank

7 February 2002

Dr. Willem F. Duisenberg, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), has decided to step down as President of the ECB on 9 July 2003, on his 68th birthday. Yesterday, Mr. Duisenberg informed Mr. J. M. Aznar López, in his capacity as President of the European Council, and Mr. R. de Rato y Figaredo, in his capacity as President of the ECOFIN Council, about this decision in writing. Moreover, Mr. Duisenberg has orally informed the members of the ECB's three decision-making bodies (the Executive Board, Governing Council and General Council).

Mr. Duisenberg's decision has to be seen against the background of his declaration on the occasion of the meeting of the European Council on 2 and 3 May 1998 that, in view of his age, he did not want to serve the full eight-year term as President of the ECB, which commenced on 1 June 1998.

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