PRESS RELEASE

The Governing Council of the ECB welcomes the new EU Member States

30 April 2004

Tomorrow, 1 May 2004, the European Union will have ten new Member States, namely the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia.

On behalf of the Governing Council, Mr Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), said: “On this historic occasion, we very warmly welcome the new Member States to the European Union and to the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). As from tomorrow, we will all be mutually enriched by sharing our long-standing European inheritance and experiences, current and new members alike. We look forward to enhancing our dialogue and cooperation with the new members in order to ensure the smooth and successful achievement of our common historic goals.”

As from tomorrow, the national central banks of the new Member States will be integrated into the ESCB and their respective Governors will become full members of the General Council of the ECB. Likewise, the national central banks’ experts in the ESCB Committees will have full-member status whenever the committees meet in ESCB composition, i.e. with all the EU national central banks. The Governors of the national central banks of the ten new Member States and their experts have been participating in the respective meetings of the General Council and committees as observers since June 2003.

The new Member States will not adopt the euro immediately upon membership of the European Union. They will only do so once they have fulfilled the requirements as laid down in the Treaty establishing the European Community. Unlike Denmark and the United Kingdom, the ten new Member States do not have a right to opt out of the single currency.

The ECB and the European Commission will both prepare convergence reports every two years or at the request of a “Member State with a derogation”. These reports provide the basis for the EU Council’s decision on whether the Member State concerned fulfils the necessary conditions for adoption of the euro. The first ECB convergence report including the new Member States will be published in the course of October 2004.

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