PRESS RELEASE

Transfer of the electronic Payment Systems Observatory from the European Commission to the European Central Bank

30 April 2003

The electronic Payment Systems Observatory (ePSO) has been successfully transferred from the European Commission to the European Central Bank (ECB). The ePSO project, which was set up in 2000 by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) of the Directorate General Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, has as its main objective the enhancement of information exchange in the field of e-payment systems. During its two years of operation, ePSO has contributed to greater understanding of e-payment developments in Europe and to the development of e-commerce in general.

The dissemination of information, exchange of views and reaching of consensus among stakeholders on the e-payment solutions available and possible trends remain a valuable input into the complex process of payment innovation. Given the ECB's statutory task of promoting the smooth operation of payment systems, the European Commission and the ECB agreed at the end of 2002 to transfer ePSO to the ECB. In the performance of this statutory task, the ECB has a vital interest in the promotion of the security and efficiency of all payment systems and instruments. Hence, the ECB will operate ePSO as a tool for facilitating the exchange of information among the stakeholders, for monitoring developments in the field and for gathering information to support its future policies.

The ePSO website can be found at www.e-pso.info. On this website, interested parties will be able to access an e-mail discussion forum, an inventory of over 180 innovative e-payment solutions, and topical articles in the field of payments The website aims to be a platform for all interested parties to follow and discuss recent developments in the information and communication technologies applied in this field. The ECB, in close co-operation with the national central banks of the European System of Central Banks, will act as a moderator to stimulate discussions. Conferences and workshops will be organised occasionally to reinforce and extend communication between actors across borders and sectors.

Interested parties are invited to visit the new ePSO website, to subscribe to the e-mail discussion forum and to contribute actively to the Observatory's success.

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