News Brief: IMF's Köhler Welcomes Launch of Euro Currency

December 26, 2001

Horst Köhler, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said today:

"The introduction of euro notes and coins on January 1, 2002 is an historic milestone in European integration, and the final step in an unprecedented process of international monetary integration. Since its introduction in 1999, the euro has not only eliminated turbulence in exchange rates in the area but also stabilized intra area interest rates. Moreover, it has begun to energize its financial markets and offered a major currency choice to investors and borrowers world wide. The introduction of notes and coins will give new impetus to common pricing across the euro area and the lowering of transactions costs. Given the economic importance and potential of Europe, in time the euro's role as a major reserve currency will increase, adding to Europe's global economic responsibility.

"The introduction of the euro as a physical currency follows other crucial steps in the process of European economic integration, notably the establishment of the European Central Bank as an independent institution fully committed to delivering price stability, and the stability orientation imparted to improvement of fiscal policies via the Stability and Growth Pact. There are still many important challenges ahead. The Laeken Declaration of the European Union gives a new momentum to building the institutions for a strong and unified Europe and successfully expanding the Union's membership. Greater political cohesion, reinforced by continued progress in economic reform throughout Europe, will help the continent to achieve its potential for strong growth and stability. The notes and coins that will now be an integral part of life for most Europeans symbolize the irreversible commitment Europe has made to greater integration, prosperity and lasting peace."


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