European Monetary System (EMS)

Système monétaire européen (SME)
Europäisches Währungssystem (EWS)
Sistema Monetario Europeo (SME)
Europees Monetair System (EMS)
Europaeisk Monetaer System (EMS)

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1979-03-13 Brussels Belgium


13 Mar 1979, Brussels (Belgium), on signature of an agreement by central banks of member countries of H-XD0665 - European Community, pursuant to a resolution adopted by the Council of the European Communities - currently E-XE3068 - Council of the European Union - on 5 Dec 1978, Brussels, and following preparatory work carried out by study groups of H-XF0662 - European Communities (EC), following the the Community Summit Meeting, 1-2 Dec 1969, The Hague (Netherlands). Operating procedures were finalized by H-XE7137 - Committee of Governors of the Central Banks of the Member States of the European Economic Community - which had previously been the institutional framework for administration in all aspects which fell within the competence of participating central banks - and the Board of Governors of H-XF0093 - European Monetary Cooperation Fund (EMCF), set up 3 Apr 1973.

T-XT5765 - Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in force 1 Jan 1958, had stated that "the Community shall have as its task, by establishing an economic and monetary union, to promote throughout the Community a harmonious and balanced development of economic activities". T-XT8633 - Single European Act (SEA) - signed Feb 1986, ratified by member parliaments by 31 Mar 1987 and came into force 1 Jul 1987 - modified the Treaty of Rome (Italy) and included an affirmation of the will to build F-XF4335 - European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The first phase of this Union came into force on 1 Jul 1990, involving removal of most remaining restrictions on capital movements, increased coordination of individual economic policies and more intensive cooperation between central banks. A priority objective of the F-XF2147 - European Union (EU), set up under the Maastricht Treaty after many years of planning, is the strengthening of the EMS and mobilization of necessary resources. Progress already made in this direction had been approval by Ministers of Finance, 13 Jun 1988, Luxembourg, of a directive aimed at free circulation of capital in all countries of the Community (with the exception of Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Greece) by 30 Jun 1990. This came into effect on 1 Jul 1990. Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Greece had until 31 Dec 1992 to phase out foreign exchange controls, with certain restrictions on capital movements being allowed Portugal and Greece for a further 3 years should they experience balance of payment difficulties. The T-XT9113 - Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty), signed 7 Feb 1992, planned progress towards EMU and led to the setting up, 1 Jan 1994, of H-XF2874 - European Monetary Institute (EMI) to monitor functioning of the EMS and, 1 Jun 1998, of E-XF2923 - European Central Bank (ECB) which replaced the EMI.

A Resolution of the European Council, 16 Jun 1997, Amsterdam (Netherlands), established an exchange-rate mechanism in the third stage of EMU, and agreement of 1 Sep 1998 between the European Central Bank and the National Central Banks (NCBs) of member states outside the euro area laid down operating procedures. Under the European Council resolution, a new 'Exchange-Rate Mechanism (ERM II)' replaced the European Monetary System as from 1 Jan 1999, when Economic and Monetary Union became official and the EMS became obsolete; at that time the 'euro' became currency of 11 of the EU member states, followed by a 12th, Greece, on 1 Jan 2001. As from 1 Jan 2002, banks in these countries issue only euro notes and coins.


Enable closer monetary cooperation leading to a zone of monetary stability in Europe, particularly at first by means of the European Currency Unit (ECU) which was at the centre of the system, and currently by the euro single currency; overcome constraints resulting from the de facto interdependence of European economies; achieve internal - price - and external - exchange rate - stability by means of a system of fixed but adjustable guidance rates resting on a variety of intervention and credit mechanisms.


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Subjects *

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UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production



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** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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