BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Commission officially recommended
11 countries to join the European Monetary Union and adopt the
euro, the single currency to be introduced Jan. 1.
The recommended countries were: Austria, Belgium, Finland,
France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,
Portugal and Spain. Final approvals will be made at a European
Union summit here on May 2, according to union officials.
The summit also will set the rates at which the euro will be
exchanged with local currencies.
The euro will be introduced in commercial transactions in 1999,
with bank notes and coins replacing local currencies in 2002.