Following the decision of the Madrid European Council on the scenario for the introduction of the euro, the Commission has undertaken a number of initiatives, both in the legislative and practical field, in order to step up preparations in the private sector and within public administrations.
On the legislative side, the legal framework for the introduction of the euro has now been established with the adoption by the Council in June 1997 of the Regulation on certain provisions relating to the introduction of the euro, and the political agreement by the Council in July 1997 on the draft Regulation on the introduction of the euro.
On the practical side, several initiatives have been launched by the Commission, the European Monetary Institute (EMI), the Member States and various professional associations.
This Communication has two aims:
- to provide information on the ongoing practical preparations at national and European level both by the public and the private sector;
- to identify the issues where decisions are still to be taken, to define the desired level of harmonisation and whether the issues should be treated at the European level or be left to the national level.
All economic sectors have started to prepare for the changeover to the euro, although at different levels. Practical preparations, both in the private and public sector, need to proceed in a timely manner in order to respect the calendar established by the European Council in Madrid.
For that purpose it is essential that:
- Member States present their transition plans before end 1997 including statements on accounting, reporting and tax declarations in euro;
- public issuers announce their intention on redenomination of existing debt and on conventions applicable to the new debt before end 1997;
- Member States concerned finalize the selection of the design of the national faces of the euro coins with the agreed common features, before end 1997;
- Member States launch their national communication campaigns without further delay;
- information about positions taken by the competent authorities in regard to the tax consequences of the introduction of the euro are made known before end 1997 and circulated as widely as possible;
- a formal proposal is presented by the Commission before end 1997 on the date of introduction of notes and coins and a decision is taken by the Council immediately thereafter;
- other practical issues such as dual display and conversion charges, should be further studied in order to clarify whether or not a common approach is necessary across the participating Member States, whether such common approach should be enforced by legislation at the national or European level, or could be left to market forces, or to voluntary agreements or codes of practice, duly monitored. The Commission intends to complete the study of these issues before end 1997, to make public the results and, in case Community legislation is needed, to submit a proposal to the Council.