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17 January, 2000
The European Union's monetary committee on Saturday gave the drachma a new central parity of 340.750 to the euro in the exchange rate mechanism (ERM), representing a revaluation of 3.5%.
Greece is expected to enter the 11-member euro zone on January 1, 2001 at the drachma's newly-set ERM parity.
The members of the monetary committee are representatives of the 15-nation bloc's finance ministries, central banks, the European Central Bank, and the EU's executive Commission.
Representing Greece at the meeting were Deputy Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas and Yiannis Stournaras, the national economy ministry's chief economic adviser.
A communique released by the committee after its four-hour meeting said the drachma's trading band in the ERM was 15% above or below central parity.
The committee said the drachma's shift upwards from the previous 353 to the euro would aid Greece's drive for growth and price stability,
It also underlined the importance of maintaining a stable fiscal policy and carrying out more structural changes to the economy in order to achieve a lasting alignment with other EU countries.
Finally, the communique said that the revaluation, which was sought by Greece, did not anticipate a decision by the European Central Bank and EU Commission due in June on whether or not Greece is ready to join the euro zone.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis said that the EU's decision had proved the economy was stable and healthy.
"The Greek public has shown through its effort that as a country we can move at the same pace as other European countries," Simitis said in a scheduled public address in the western town of Eghio in the Peloponnese.
The prime minister added that beyond the monetary value of the drachma that had now been officially acknowledged, the value of public effort also was recognized.
Source: Athens News Agency