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Eurogroup to take the initiative - EMUbusiness - Issue 11

31 January 2001, 00:00 CET


EMUbusiness - Issue 11
16 January 2001
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EMUbusiness top stories
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1. Professionals slightly less upbeat about euro-area growth
2. Don't delay preparing for the euro, says Accountants' Federation
3. Belgium, Germany update cash changeover plans
4. Euro's advent still unpopular, particularly in Germany
5. Charity euros raising money for sick children


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

In the run-up to the Nice Summit last year, there was a great deal of discussion as to whether deepening or widening the EU was the way to go and the exact meaning of the right to pursue enhanced co-operation between groups of Member States. In EMU terms, this is almost old hat. Enhanced co-operation between the euro-area countries within the Eurogroup is more and more of a reality, and under the Presidency of Belgian Finance Minister, Didier Reynders, for the whole of this year, is likely to become more so.

Watch, for example, for the Eurogroup to delve more into financial market regulation on the grounds that the euro-area countries have significant and specific interests in this area. Expect it also to hold more discussions on structural reforms to euro-area economies above and beyond those which take place in the Ecofin Council. The same is true of economic co-ordination. If Reynders gets his way,
there will be Eurogroup discussions on other areas technically the preserve of Ecofin, including the broad economic policy guidelines, forthcoming national initiatives likely to have an impact on the euro-area policy mix and the format of stability programmes.

The Belgian Presidency is also determined to improve the visibility of the euro-zone, boost the international role of the euro and make progress on the question of external representation of the euro area. It wants, for example, to assess - in close co-operation with the European Central Bank (ECB) - the usefulness or need for enhancing the role of the euro as a reserve or invoicing currency. Co-
operation with the ECB will be pushed by Reynders exercising the Treaty right of the President of the Council to participate in meetings of the Governing Council of the Bank.

All these Eurogroup initiatives will be followed by Ecofin debate on the same subjects in order to observe the legal proprieties, but it is hard seriously to believe that the U.K., Denmark and Sweden will have much input.

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

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1. Professionals slightly less upbeat about euro-area growth
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Professional forecasters consulted by the European Central Bank (ECB) have become a little less upbeat about euro-area growth prospects. When last consulted in November, they had revised down their expected rate of growth for 2001 and 2002 by 0.1 percentage point compared to August last year. They picked 3.1% growth for this year and 2.8% for 2002. Their forecast of 3.5% growth in 2000 was unchanged.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/36123


2. Don't delay preparing for the euro, says Accountants' Federation
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Thinking about, identifying and planning what to do to change over to the euro must be done now, FEE stresses, pointing out that it is in fact already very late. "The earlier a company plans its changeover even if it decides to change at the end of 2001, the easier and cheaper it will be and the company will have more options available to it." The most important practical issue managers should now address, if they have not already done so, is their IT
requirements. "They need to establish whether they can re-use their existing hardware and software or whether they need to buy new and, if so, what they should buy."
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/36124


3. Belgium, Germany update cash changeover plans
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Both Belgium and Germany have published updated versions of their plans for introducing euro notes and coins. Most of the changes are in the fine print. No changes have been made to the overall timetables, i.e. availability of starter kits for consumers to familiarise themselves with the euro from mid-December and a two-month dual circulation period from January 1, 2002, the first date on which euro can be spent. ATMs will cease to dispense national
currency units as of January 1, 2002, and shops, restaurants and other cash-handling businesses will in principle only give change in euro from then on.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/36125


4. Euro's advent still unpopular, particularly in Germany
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Euro-zone citizens are unhappy about losing their national currencies and Britons are pleased not to be in the first wave of eurozone members, according to a new poll. Of those polled in seven euro-area countries, the Germans are the least satisfied about the move to the euro. On a weighted average, 41% of those polled in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain are satisfied at the prospect of the euro, and 52% are dissatisfied, but this reflects the weight of the German population in the total. The satisfied nevertheless outweigh the unsatisfied in four of the seven countries.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/36126


5. Charity euros raising money for sick children
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Look out for a travelling display of huge, painted euros starting in Palermo, Lisbon and Athens. The scheme is an offshoot of the Euro-Point initiative set up by German banks, businesses and individuals in Frankfurt in 1999 to make the single currency more attractive to children, to promote Frankfurt as the home of the ECB and most
importantly to raise money for children with cancer.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/36127


SPONSOR'S MESSAGE
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For details, contact Dawn Bennett at mailto:dbennett@eubusiness.com
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Other stories on EUbusiness in January
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Euro-zone GDP up 0.7 % in Q3 of 2000
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Euro-zone and EU Gross Domestic Product grew by 0.7 % and 0.6% respectively during the third quarter of last year - according to revised estimates published today (16 January) by Eurostat. Earlier figures released on 12 December had forecast both zones grew by 0.7%.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/36092


EU assesses updated Swedish convergence programme
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The Commission has adopted a recommendation to the Council of Ministers on the latest update of the Swedish convergence programme for the period 2000-2003. The Commission's main conclusions are that the Swedish economy has developed broadly favourably in the period since the presentation of the last programme in 1999. Output growth
has been strong, inflation has remained low and unemployment has fallen substantially.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/35619


Retail trade up by 1% in euro-zone; 1.7% in EU
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Retail trade rose by 1% in the euro-zone and 1.7% in the EU in October compared with the same month a year earlier - according to latest estimates by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Communities.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/35500


Economic confidence scale shows slight rise
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The economic sentiment indicator increased by 0.1 point in the euro area and by 0.3 points in the EU according to the business and consumer survey results in December 2000 published on 5 January by the Commission's Economic and Financial Affairs DG.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/35277


October trade surplus for euro-zone
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The euro-zone benefited from a trade surplus with the rest of the world of EUR 3.7 billion euro in October last year, according to first Eurostat estimates. This compares with a surplus of EUR 7.0bn in October 1999. The revised September deficit was EUR 0.4bn, against a 1.3bn surplus in September 1999. During the first ten months of 2000, the euro-zone trade recorded a surplus of EUR 11.3 bn, compared with 44.7 bn in 1999.
Full story: http://www.eubusiness.com/item/35177


Internet Monitor
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Council Watch
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The web site of the new Swedish EU presidency is at:
http://www.eu2001.se


EMU diary
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European Parliament session, 15-18 January, Strasbourg
Eurogroup meeting, 18 January, Brussels
ECOFIN Council, 19 January, Brussels
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Community
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Business Forum
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* In 'Find a Business Partner', Nareenthiran S/O Sabaratnam, on behalf of a firm providing business management services, is looking to partner EU companies interested to set up offices in the Asia Pacific region.

If you're looking for a business partner, a buyer, a supplier, or a job visit our business-to-business forum.
http://www.eubusiness.com/discussion/

Workshop
--------
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/

Suggest / provide a Link
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If you know of a web site which you think would be helpful to EUbusiness users, send us your suggestion, either from the relevant section page, or at: http://www.eubusiness.com/suggest_link.html .
EUbusiness also welcomes inbound links. Please contact Hazel Daniells at mailto:hazel@eubusiness.com .

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