Preparations for public administrations
This working paper from the European Commission provides comparable country-by-country information on the current state of national changeover plans.
Commission working paper of 16 December 1997: Preparations for the changeover of public administrations to the euro [SEC (97) 2384 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
As regards the practical arrangements for the changeover of national public administrations, the scenario adopted at the Madrid European Council meeting provides that:
"The generalisation of the use of the euro for public sector operations will occur in all participating Member States at the latest when the euro banknotes and coins are fully introduced. The time frame will be laid down in Community legislation and might leave some freedom to individual Member States."
Given the often considerable structural differences between Member States' constitutions and legal systems, the Commission has refrained from proposing harmonised changeover measures for national public administrations, except for the two regulations which form the legal framework for the euro.
Under these arrangements, national administrations may offer private economic agents the option of using the euro unit for all their financial flows and communications with the State. In countries which intend to offer this option a provision usually stipulates that, once a company has chosen the euro unit before the end of the transitional period, it cannot revert to the national currency unit.
The preparations so far made for the changeover to the euro can be summarised as follows:
- ten Member States have published a national changeover plan or, in one case, a comprehensive draft transition law;
- a majority of Member States intends to give companies, and in many cases individuals, the option at least partially to communicate and to execute financial flows with public administrations either in the national currency unit or in the euro unit from January 1999 onwards;
- the range of these "euro options" varies from one Member State to the other. They cover areas such as company accounting and reporting, the founding of companies with their capital in the euro unit, the redenomination of an existing company's capital into the euro unit, or tax and social security declarations and payments;
- Member States expecting to participate in 1999 intend to continue to operate internally (i.e. budgets and internal accounting) in the national currency unit until the end of the transitional period in December 2001. There is, however, a discernible trend towards the parallel publication of major government data in the euro unit;
- depending on the individual structures of Member States, coordination with regional and local authorities has become an essential element of national changeover preparations.
The paper also contains a technical fact sheet for each country, giving an overview of the current state of the preparations carried out by public administrations.