Summary: Finance Ministers from the 11 Euro countries will be gathering in Brussels on December 31 to ensure each of the 11 currencies taking part in the single currency are locked into fixed exchange rates. Nevertheless, a whole procedure, involving the national banks, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission, first of all has to be completed.

The proceedings will get under way at 11 a.m. with a 30-minute televised conference attended by all EU Member State Central Bank Governors. The meeting will provide the Governors with an opportunity to vet the different rates of European currencies against the currency of a third country, the Dollar in this instance. Belgium's Central Bank will then pass on the rates to the European Commission's Directorate-General for Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG II). DG II will use the rates to calculate the official rate of the ECU. Jacques Santer, the European Commission President, and Yves-Thibault de Silguy, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, will then hand the Council of Ministers with the draft Regulation on the changeover to the Euro. The Finance Council proper will kick in at 12.30. Wim Duisenberg, the President of the ECB, will be submitting his institution's exchange rate report. The Ministers will have an opportunity to make a statement. The Council session will draw to a close at 1.30 p.m...

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