THE WORLD BANKGROUP A World Free ofPoverty


EMU, the Euro and the World Bank

The Treaty on European Union, signed in Maastricht in 1992, set the framework for Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). In May 1998, the European Council announced that Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal had fulfilled the necessary conditions for the adoption of a single currency, the euro.

On January 1, 1999, the euro will become the official currency of the participating EU member states and will replace their national currencies, which become sub-divisions of the euro. Exchange rates of the national currencies of these states will be irrevocably fixed vis-à-vis the euro. During the transition period from January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2001, payments can be made in each participating member state either in euro or in the (former) currency of that state.

The advent of the euro will affect the World Bank Group in many ways. Given the complexity of the introduction of the euro, and the need for business-driven integrated solutions, the Euro Task Force was launched in January 1998 under the sponsorship of the senior management of the Bank Group. The Task Force facilitated Bank Group business units to assess the impact of the euro on the Bank's products, business processes, systems and data sources, and to prepare action plans to ensure business continuity and the smooth integration of the euro into the Bank's business. The action plans also sought to avail of new opportunities provided by the introduction of the euro.

The Task Force is coordinating a communications strategy to inform borrowers, staff, pensioners, and shareholders of impacts and changes. This World Bank euro page is meant to inform the public of important World Bank announcements pertaining to Euro.

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