Since the establishment of the European Economic Community in 1958 there has been a progressive movement towards a more integrated European financial market. This movement has been marked by several events. In the field of payments, the most visible were the launch of the euro in 1999 and the cash changeover in the euro area countries in 2002.
The establishment of the large-value central bank payment system TARGET was less visible, but also of great importance. It formed an integral part of the introduction of the euro and facilitated the rapid integration of the euro area money market.
A unique feature of TARGET2 is the fact that its payment services in euro are available across a geographical area which is larger than the euro area. National central banks which have not yet adopted the euro also have the option to participate in TARGET2 to facilitate the settlement of transactions in euro. When new Member States join the euro area the participation in TARGET2 becomes mandatory. The use of TARGET2 is mandatory for the settlement of any euro operations involving the Eurosystem.
As of February 2016, 25 central banks of the EU and their respective user communities are participating in, or connected to, TARGET2: