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Brussels, 3 August 2001

The Euro Info Centre (EIC) Network joins the key phase of the European Central Bank Euro 2002 Information Campaign

Retailers and cash handlers, but also consumers, will be the first beneficiaries of the new Euro Info Centres European Central Bank Partnership. The network of 282 EICs joined today the European Central Bank Euro 2002 Information Campaign's final and crucial phase, to step up efforts to raise European citizens and enterprises' awareness of the fast-approaching euro changeover and to ensure a smooth introduction of euro notes and coins. This Partnership will help enhance the impact of communication initiatives by both the European Central Bank and the European Commission.

Mobilising all Commission networks is essential to success in introducing the euro. Alongside the European Central Bank, the Commission will ensure a high level of preparedness of stakeholders for the last phase of the euro changeover.

The linking up of EICs to the ECB Partnership Programme will enable them to access a large amount of information and material relating to the introduction of euro notes and coins and to display the official Partnership Programme logo.

The Euro 2002 Information campaign aims to show the public what euro notes and coins will look like, provide information and training tools to cash handlers on the appearance of the various denominations, and raise awareness of the banknotes' security features.

With the unveiling of the security features of euro notes and coins as of 1 September 2001, the Euro 2002 Information Campaign will be further upgraded, to reach an even broader audience. EICs have already started to inform businesses of the implications of the euro changeover, and have run information campaigns. They offer help and advice to SMEs, and many of them provide euro preparation tools and kits for companies.

This Partnership and the resulting information campaigns will mostly benefit millions of small and medium-sized enterprises which are in contact with EICs, and in particular retailers, who will play a key role in the introduction of euro notes and coins.

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