PRESS RELEASE

Rules on the future procurement of euro banknotes

22 October 2004

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) Guideline ECB/2004/18 of 16 September 2004 on the procurement of euro banknotes was published on 21October 2004 in the Official Journal of the European Union.

In accordance with the principle of an open market economy with free competition, favouring an efficient allocation of resources, the Guideline establishes a single Eurosystem tender procedure for the production of euro banknotes. This common approach will apply after a transitional period thus allowing NCBs and printing works to adequately prepare. The precise starting date of the transitional period is dependent on a critical mass of NCBs agreeing to participate in the single Eurosystem tender procedure and will be decided by the Governing Council.

The single Eurosystem tender procedure recognises that issuing euro banknotes is a public task, which has been explicitly entrusted to the Eurosystem. Euro banknotes are very sensitive and innovative products. Therefore, the single Eurosystem tender procedure is designed to ensure that euro banknotes are produced in a fully secure, controlled and confidential manner that guarantees a reliable, high quality and sustained supply.

Moreover, the single Eurosystem tender procedure has been developed in accordance with EC competition law. In particular, it ensures equal treatment of all printing works wishing to participate in the single Eurosystem tender procedure, as well as transparency and efficiency. It also respects the principle of decentralisation.

The single Eurosystem tender procedure consists of a single set of tender rules and procedures, which will apply to the Eurosystem’s entire banknote requirement. NCBs with in-house printing works or those using public printing works may decide not to participate in the single Eurosystem tender procedure and will then continue to produce the euro banknotes allocated to them in those printing works.

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