PRESS RELEASE

Publication of an enhanced “Blue Book” statistical addendum

6 March 2006

The European Central Bank (ECB) is today publishing a statistical addendum to the publication “Payment and securities settlement systems in the European Union and in the acceding countries” (known as the “Blue Book”) incorporating 2004 data.

The Blue Book Addendum, which provides statistical data on the major payment and securities settlement systems operating in the EU, has a new structure and layout. This is the result of a comprehensive review of the data collected and enhancements made to the definition and collection of data on payments and securities. For data on securities settlement, further progress is expected in 2006.

In a number of cases, the statistics on payments and payment systems are not directly comparable to data presented in previous editions of the Blue Book Addendum. In order to help users to better understand these changes, the “Detailed explanatory notes” in the Blue Book Addendum contain the detailed user requirements applied, descriptions of the tables and comparisons of the enhanced statistics with those in previous Blue Book Addenda and with the “Statistics on payment and settlement systems in selected countries” (the “Red Book”) published by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). In addition, the Blue Book Addendum also contains for each country a list of remaining discrepancies between the enhanced requirements as outlined in the “Detailed explanatory notes” and the actual data provided.

The production of this Blue Book Addendum has involved close cooperation between the ECB and the central banks of the countries concerned. The enhancements mark a further step in the overall efforts of the ESCB to create a comprehensive and harmonised statistical framework, including statistics on payments and settlements.

The Blue Book Addendum can be downloaded from the ECB’s website. Printed versions are available from each of the EU and acceding country central banks, or from the ECB at the address given below.

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