USE OF THE EURO TAKES OFF
This review presents the results of the Commission's quarterly survey of banks to determine the extent to which bank customers use the euro in their accounts and payments. It also sets out the data sent by national administrations and summarises various studies. With the launch of the programmes for switching over accounts and invoices ahead of time, the use of the euro is increasing sharply in most participating countries:
the new data available in some Member States show that use of the euro in relations with public administrations is increasing substantially in the case of both VAT returns and customs declarations. For example, in five participating countries more than 25% of customs declarations are now in euros;
national payments made by firms in euros have doubled in volume terms (from 7.8% to 15.1%). Nearly 40% of international payments are in euros (48% in value terms). In most participating countries, the number of firms keeping their records in euros is edging up. The proportion of euro accounts is rising significantly (from 8% to 20.3%), with the situation varying a great deal from one country to another (ranging from 0.6% in Ireland to 63% in France).
payments in euros by individuals have risen fivefold from 1.9% to 10.1% in volume terms (from 8.8% to 15.1% in value terms). The proportion of private individuals' euro accounts is also growing in spectacular fashion (from 3.2% to 26%), the highest figure of 69.9% being reported in France, where the early switching of accounts is well under way. An average of slightly more than 84% of electronic payment terminals managed by banks are now technically able to accept euro operations (the proportion ranges from 0% in the Netherlands, Ireland and Austria to 100% in Belgium).