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Summit signals on the euro - EMUbusiness - Issue 9

15 December 2000, 23:24 CET


EMUbusiness - Issue 9
12 December 2000
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EMUbusiness top stories
=======================
1. Euro area and euro in for a relatively smooth ride
2. Time to empty Ireland's piggy banks
3. Belgium gets green light to contribute towards logistics costs
4. Ensuring introduction of the cash euro is a non-event
5. U.K. House of Lords Committee reserves judgement on euro


Publisher's Note
================

Obviously the future institutional and constitutional framework of the EU is of paramount importance and this justifiably hit the headlines after the Nice Summit. But it is worth noting that the Summit sent some important signals on EMU and the euro. We have no illusion but that it was the officials who did much of the drafting, but some of the statements will nevertheless be useful grist to the
mill of the Belgian Finance Minister, Didier Reynders. With Sweden holding the Presidency for the first half of next year and Belgium for the second, it falls to Belgium to preside for the whole of next year over the Eurogroup, the informal gathering of euro-area Finance Ministers. That gives Reynders an unprecedented opportunity to shape
the future of Euroland.

In an interview in the latest issue of Euro-impact, Reynders stressed the importance he attaches to co-ordinating the communications campaigns around certain key dates. These are spelled out in the Nice Presidency Conclusions. The Summit advocated structuring information
on introduction of notes and coins by focusing on four landmark dates. They are the Europe days in the week of May 9, presentation of euro coins and notes in September, the dates on which euro coins are made available in mid-December to individuals in those Member States choosing to release them then ready for spending on January 1, 2002 and the formal introduction of euro coins and notes at midnight
on December 31.

The European Council also not only welcomed the improvements made to the workings of the Eurogroup and its visibility, but also the intention to extend the range of mainly structural matters dealt with by the Eurogroup, which will enhance the co-ordination of economic policies. The Eurogroup still has no legal status, but is increasingly taking on a life of its own.

Regards,
Marion Bywater
Publisher, EMUbusiness
mailto: mbywater@eubusiness.com

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1. Euro area and euro in for a relatively smooth ride
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Despite expected slower growth in the United States, the economic upswing in Europe will continue in 2001 according to a poll of the chief economists on the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in the Brussels-based European Banking Federation. The pace of the upswing will, however, be somewhat slower than last year. These economists also believe the euro has bottomed out and will recover
significantly against the dollar in the coming months.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/33793


2. Time to empty Ireland's piggy banks
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Now is the time for the people of Ireland to start thinking about spending all their loose change, the Central Bank of Ireland is suggesting. Every household in Ireland has on average more than EUR 30 stashed away, primarily in glass bottles and jam jars. This is a total of 550 million coins worth more than EUR 35 million. Most are 1p and 2p coins, though many are 1 pound coins.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/33693


3. Belgium gets green light to contribute towards logistics costs
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The European Commission's competition officials have agreed that the Belgian government can help with the cost of introducing euro notes and coins without the subsidies being considered illegal state aids. Belgium is the only country which had formally approached the Commission to check the legality of what it proposed, but Austria and
the Netherlands are thought to have had an interest in the outcome. Other countries are also under pressure from their banks to give a helping hand.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/33694


4. Ensuring introduction of the cash euro is a non-event
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Introduction of the cash euro should be a non-event, a natural development which comes as no surprise and to which everyone is looking forward with anticipation, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, Pedro Solbes Mira, said this week. The time had come to mobilise in order to make this happen, he stressed.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/33695

5. U.K. House of Lords Committee reserves judgement on euro
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The jury is still out on whether the euro is a success or not, a U.K. House of Lords Committee has concluded. There had clearly been considerable progress in relation to some of the ten criteria against which the European Union Select Committee benchmarked progress, but there had been less in relation to others. Nevertheless, all the euro-zone governments from which it heard evidence deemed the single
currency a success so far. It was not to be expected that they would say anything else. What seemed really to the Committee, however, was "the sincerity with which their views were expressed." These "left no room for doubt as to the strength with which (these views) were held."
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/33696


Other stories on EUbusiness in November
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EU leaders strike reform deal at Nice
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EU leaders ended the marathon Nice summit early on 11 December after striking agreement on a reform package of EU institutions in preparation for the enlargement of the 15-nation bloc to countries of central and eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. The summit did not go as far as many had hoped, but many important and controversial issues were finally settled bringing applause from the exhausted heads of government who had negotiated through the night.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/33570


October industrial producer prices up 0.6% in euro-zone; 0.5% in EU
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The euro-zone industrial producer price index rose 0.6% in October, compared with the previous month, according to latest Eurostat estimates. The index also rose in September, by 1%. Prices across the whole of the EU, which had risen by 0.9% in September, rose by 0.5% in October.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/33381


Retail trade up 3.3% in euro-zone; 3.5% in EU in September
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The volume of retail trade rose by 3.3% in the euro-zone and by 3.5% in the EU in September, compared with the same period a year ago, according to Eurostat estimates. Compared to August, sales rose by 0.4% in the euro-zone and 0.2% in the 15-member EU.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/33382


November: euro-zone business climate index down
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After three months of stability concentrated around the 1.4 index, the business climate indicator (also called common factor) fell to 1.2 in November - according to latest data from the Commission's finance office.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/33366


Euro-zone unemployment falls to 8.9%; EU to 8.2%
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Euro-zone seasonally-adjusted unemployment fell to 8.9% in October from 9.0% in September, Eurostat reports. The rate fell below 9% for the first time since May 1992 and in October 1999, the rate was 9.7%.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/33149


ECB keeps euro rate steady
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The European Central Bank's council decided to peg the euro interest rate to its current level of 4.75% at its meeting on 30 November. The decision caused no major upsets on currency markets, as it was widely predicted by analysts who now believe the interest rate will be held until next year and then probably cut. This week's report of a marked
slowdown in German growth in the third quarter led economists to believe that the ECB would not be able to justify a rate rise.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/32842


Internet Monitor
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Nice Summit Presidency Conclusions
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The Nice Presidency conclusions are now available for download. These deal in particular with enlargement, Common Foreign and Security policy, economic and social Europe, citizens, culture, and external relations (PDF Acrobat format).
http://www.presidence-europe.fr/pfue/dossiers/01836/01836-en.pdf


Swedish Presidency site
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As the French Presidency nears its end, Sweden, the next incumbent, gears up for its six-month stint starting on 1st January 2001 with a new site.
http://www.eu2001.se/eu2001/main/default.asp


Eurosystem monetary policy instruments
--------------------------------------
The European Central Bank on 5 December issued a press release on 'The single monetary policy in Stage Three: General documentation on Eurosystem monetary policy instruments and procedures'. This revised version is available for download in PDF format (approx. 700
Kb) from the ECB web site:
http://www.ecb.int/pub/pdf/gendoc2000en.pdf


EMU diary
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European Parliament session, 11-14, December Strasbourg
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Community
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Any Answers?
------------
* Anesti Panagiotidis, Greek but currently living in the U.S., is looking to start a new automotive business in Greece. He is looking for EU help in the form of a loan or subsidy for the venture.

Answer questions, or post your own, in our Any Answers section.
http://www.eubusiness.com/anyanswers/

Workshop
--------
Due to diary clashes between our expert panellists, we have had to cancel our Innovation in Europe online discussion forum in December, with many apologies. We hope to hold a workshop on government regulation on the Internet in January and euro notes and coins in February. If you are interested in taking part, or would like to be
one of our panel of experts, please email Wendy Jones at
mailto:wendy@eubusiness.com
http://www.eubusiness.com/workshop/

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