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E-Day 2002

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E-day 1 Jan 2002: The introduction of euro notes and coins



The E-Day 2002 web site used to have articles:


1. Introducing Euro notes and coins: a nightmare or the ’vacation feeling’? A general background paper on the current distribution scenario and the alternative scenario (frontloading).
2. IROQ – French study on frontloading A research of the Banque de France regarding the attitude of the general public towards frontloading.
3. Legal advice of Prof. P.J. Slot, University of Leiden An advice concerning the legal framework for the introduction of the Euro: there are no legal obstacles for frontloading of Euronotes to the public.
4. Changing money at the bank or over the counter? Study of the University of Brabant A study on the physical and logistical aspects of the transition including a market research on the attitude of the general public towards frontloading.
5. Drittes Euro-Einführungsgesetz (16 December 1999), Explanatory Memorandum, English translation, and commentary The German law which is the sole formal decision on this issue in the European Union; the DMark will cease to be legal tender as from 1 January 2002; nobody is obliged to accept the old currency after E-day.
6. Introducing Euro notes and coins to the public (English text) Study of WHU-Koblenz and INSEAD-Fontainebleau An extensive academic analysis based on factual figures of cash operators concluding that shortage of change will make cash transactions impossible.

Eine Szenario-Analyse der Landung im Euroland für den Einzelhandel (Deutsche Übersetzung)
Análisis de situaciones concernientes al comercio al por menor para convivir en el “Territorio-Euro” (Traducción Española)
Analyse de scénarios concernant l’introduction de l’euro dans le commerce de détail (traduction française

7. Frontloading Euro notes to the consumer – the pros and cons Some remarks after the Ecofin Council of 9 September 2000.
8. Learned Opinion of prof dr G. Laule, Europe Institute, University of Saarbrücken "Issuance of banknotes prior to 1 January 2002 is unobjectionable."
9. Research of Twijnstra Gudde by order the Dutch Railways Preliminary study of the effects of cash payments in national currency per 1 January 2002 on the sales process of Dutch and EMU cash handling businesses. The study highlights effects on waiting times at cash points.
10.Possible conversations in 2002 Some dialogues between cash operator and consumer/client, which are likely to occur if there are two legal tenders simultaneously

Euro notes and coins - practical issues
Wednesday 21 February, 2001
This online workshop highlighted euro cash changeover issues, timetables and country variations; complexity and implications for retailers; combating consumer resistance and EU initiatives; starter kits of coins; and provide information on help available and the opportunities offered by the single currency.

German consumers will have access to loose euro coins late this year (EUBusiness)

Germany will let private individuals acquire loose change as well as starter kits of euro from mid-December this year. While this might appear like a minor change, it is actually a major breach in the approach adopted so far across the euro area. With the exception of Ireland, every country has prepared small starter kits of coins which consumers can purchase, but none had so far envisaged making coins available in loose form.


Queue Rage in the Eurozone on 1.1.2002?

A recent report on the risks of the euro cash changeover that predicts  exploding queue sizes, loss of revenue, and anti-social behaviour in  January 2002 has created quite a stir in euro-informed circles. Gerard  Westerhof, the euro project manager of the Dutch railways, argues that  present thinking, that consumers can pay in national currency in the first  weeks of 2002, is fundamentally flawed. This assumption, which has been an  integral part of national planning across the eurozone for the last couple  of years, turns out to fail hopelessly when subjected to simulation analysis.

The Dutch Railways practiced giving change in various scenarios and  discovered that the increased length of transaction time causes queue sizes  to explode. In reality, nobody will actually queue that long. They will  simply board the trains and even cash collectors on board will be unable to  process everyone in time. Not only will that cause a loss of revenue to the  railways, it may encourage future delinquency if commuters find they can  get away without paying. This is serious for businesses dealing with  perishable products or time-limited services; after all, you cannot  stockpile railway journeys and sell them tomorrow!

For shopping scenarios where the customer must wait for the item/service or  do without, the loss of turnover can be serious. The risks are lowest for  transactions that have a high value and take a long time, but that is only  about 25% of all cash transactions. The increasing tendency observed in  recent years of people giving vent to irritation and frustration by actions  ranging from queue-jumping to actual violence ("rage") is a cause of  serious social concern.

The conclusion is that the "frontloading" or priming of consumers with  coins and small denomination notes must be accelerated well beyond the  timid levels set out by the ECB, and much closer to 100%.

The study describes scenarios for six different kinds of retail business  categorised by speed and size of transaction. The Dutch Railways'  internally collected data shows at present on average a transaction time of  30 seconds giving an queue size of six people and therefore a waiting time  of three minutes. A computer study with the consultancy firm Twijnstra  Gudde was done on traveller movements, product demand at different times of  day, patterns of arrival of travellers, and layout of sales points. It  showed the service time going to 60 seconds for euro-only payments to 120  seconds for mixed guilder and euro payments, with a predicted queue size of  100 people in the morning and 1200 (theoretically!) at night. If the queue  size stays at 6 and the rest just board the train, 15% of people will  travel without a ticket. For example, of the 23,000 transactions daily at  Amsterdam Central Station, about 3,500 people will travel without paying -  just from that station alone!

Nine different approaches were considered to manage this, and only three  were considered feasible. Among the rejected six were ones I have heard  proposed as options, which may indicate that current superficial thinking  needs to be more closely examined.

Useful: Selling tickets in advance, promoting vending machines, opening  ticket windows all day.

Not useful: Paying electronically at ticket windows; deploying service  staff on the ground; extra ticket windows; communications discouraging dual  payments; separate guilder and euro ticket windows; money changing windows.

The report has been presented to the European Commission on January 8th at  a meeting on practical aspects of the transition. I recently enquired of an  academic mail list in Ireland whether any authorities in Operational  Research and Management Science for decision making had been involved in  any simulation studies here. I received no replies. It appears to me that a  serious wake-up call is required here, and some studies need to be  commissioned by the Euro changeover board and the retail industry bodies.  After all, the study above is for the Netherlands, a country with heavy use  of electronic transactions. But think of the preponderance of cash usage in  Ireland and other EU countries such as Italy. And consider the coincidence  of the cash changeover with the period of highest usage of cash in the year  (Christmas spending spree followed by the January sales). And we have a  witches' brew of trouble bubbling up.


Patrick O'Beirne, 14 Feb 2001.

Keywords, from the Commission translation services
DA eurosedlernes og euromønternes indførelse 
DE Einführung der Euro-Banknoten und -Münzen 
EN introduction of euro notes and coins 
ES introducción de billetes y monedas en euros 
FI euroseteleiden ja -kolikoiden käyttöönottopäivä 
FR mise en circulation du numéraire en euros 
FR mise en circulation des billets de banque et des pièces en euros 
IT messa in circolazione delle banconote e delle monete metalliche in euro 
NL invoering van eurobankbiljetten en -muntstukken 
PT introdução das notas e moedas em euros 
SV införandet av eurosedlar och -mynt 


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Last updated January 03, 2005