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PRESS RELEASE

Publication of the second edition of the accession country Blue Book

30 August 2002

The European Central Bank (ECB) is today publishing a report entitled "Payment and securities settlement systems in accession countries", the "accession country Blue Book". The publication has been prepared in co-operation with the central banks of the countries conducting accession negotiations for membership of the European Union (EU), namely Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, and the national central banks (NCBs) of the EU. It provides comprehensive information on the major payment and securities settlement systems operating in the accession countries and includes statistical data.

The information provided shows that, in recent years, extensive restructuring work has been undertaken in payment and securities settlement systems in the accession countries and that in many countries further work is being carried out in order to ensure their smooth entry to the EU and the smooth functioning of their payment and settlement systems within the EU environment.

The publication has been structured in the same way as the third edition of the Blue Book for EU countries, published by the ECB in June 2001. Each country chapter provides an overview of institutional aspects and the major parties involved. This is followed by extensive descriptions of the payment media used by non-banks as well as recent developments in the areas of retail payments, interbank transfer and settlement systems, and securities trading, clearing and settlement systems. The statistical tables (country-specific tables and comparative tables covering all 12 countries) provide data for the years 1996 to 2001. The report also contains a glossary listing the most relevant terms used in the area of payment and securities clearing and settlement systems.

The report can be downloaded from the ECB's website (pdf 4130 kB). Printed versions will be available from each of the EU and accession country central banks or from the ECB at the address given below.

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