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The Eurosystem and the financial market infrastructure in the euro area

This section explains the role of the Eurosystem and the various components of the financial market infrastructure in the euro area.

As any currency area, the euro area needs a financial market infrastructure which enables the safe and efficient flow of payments and financial instruments. The Eurosystem has unique responsibilities with regard to the market infrastructure for the euro. The Eurosystem’s keen interest in a safe and efficient infrastructure is closely interlinked with its responsibilities in the fields of monetary policy and financial stability.

Financial integration, globalisation and the launch of the euro in 1999 have led to a reshaping and harmonisation of the infrastructure for euro payments and for the trading, clearing and settlement of financial instruments. The greatest progression in terms of reshaping and consolidating the infrastructure has been in large-value payments, whereas post-trading services for financial instruments and retail payment services are still largely fragmented. Projects are, however, underway with a view to further enhancing integration in the latter two segments.