4. What is the Commission doing to help enterprises prepare?

For its part, the Commission is committed to ensuring that the cost changeover for private companies will be as low as possible. To this end the Commission:

  • will seek to complete technical preparations for decisions required at the EU level by early 1998. This is to give certainty to economic operators on key parameters in their changeover plans. Already, Finance Ministers have announced that Euro-day will be on 1st January 2002. In addition, the Commission has recently published a communication5 on the impact of the changeover on Community policies, institutions and legislation. Inter alia this deals with the impact on the common agricultural policy, export refunds and EU company law. In February 1998, the Commission adopted a communication on practical preparations for the euro.6 Inter alia, this communication provides the preliminary considerations of the Commission on banking charges for conversion to the euro and on the use of dual displays.
  • is encouraging Member States to accelerate preparations at the national level. The Commission has called upon Member States to finalise the changeover plans of national public administrations, and to launch national communication programmes on EMU without delay. The Commission has published a summary of the national changeover plans for all Member.
  • is facilitating the resolution of technical challenges. Recently, the Commission organised a meeting between representatives of the IT industry and software users with a view to identifying the needs of users and the constraints of producers. The Commission has published important contributions on the accounting aspects of the euro, the impact on IT systems and the implications for capital markets. A list of all relevant publications is annexed.
  • has launched an information programmes on the euro specifically targeted at the business community. Numerous initiatives have been launched to raise awareness amongst the private sector and to provide practical tools which can help managers prepare. In addition to brochures and checklists for companies, the Commission is co-financing the information programmes of business and employers federations and SMEs, e.g. IBEC. Particular attention is being paid to the information requirements of SMEs.
  • has established several web-sites on the euro. The Commission?s internet site on EMU and the euro. The address is http://europa.eu.int/euro/. Other internet sites are sponsored by the Commission and provide practical information to enterprises. Two such sites worth visiting belong to the Association for the Monetary Union of Europe ? http://amue.lf.net and the Federation of European Accountants http://euro.fee.be http://euro.fee.be

(1)The views expressed in this article are personal and in no way represent those of the European Commission.
(2)Technical factors preclude the pre-announcement of the actual conversion rates before 1st January 1999. In the period from pre-announcement in spring 1998 to the adoption of the conversion rates on 1st January 1999, the bilateral exchange rates of qualifying Member States will continue to behave within the constraints of Exchange Rate Mechanism of the EMS.
(3)OJ L 162 of 19.06.97
(4)Already published with the political approval of the Council in OJ C 236 of 02.08.97
(5)COM(97) 560 of 05.11.97
(6)COM(98)61/5 Update on the practical aspects of the introduction of the euro

Information on the euro can be obtained from the Representation of the EC in Ireland which is located at 39 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2: telephone (01) 6625113 or by fax at (01) 6625118.

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