The launch of the European Monetary Union in 1999 required the creation of the TARGET system (Trans-European Automated Real-Time Gross Settlement Express Transfer System), composed of the interconnected gross settlement systems of the EU member countries and the European Central Bank.
The technical availability of TARGET:
- ensured secure, reliable and efficient execution of interbank payments in the euro area
- made it possible to conduct the single monetary policy within the euro area in an effective manner
- fostered financial and commercial integration among participating countries.
Between 19 November 2007 and 19 May 2008, the TARGET system was gradually replaced by the TARGET2 (T2) system, which uses a single shared platform (Single Shared Platform, SSP) developed by Banca d’Italia, Deutsche Bundesbank - both in charge also of the operational management - and Banque de France ("3CB") to the benefit of the European financial community. From the legal point of view, however, T2 is structured as a set of national systems (TARGET2-Banca d’Italia for Italy) which market players join by signing national contracts harmonised at the European level. T2 envisages the decentralised maintenance of the operational relationships, that is to say, each national central bank remains responsible for the business relationships with their respective banking community.
The system meets (i) banks' demand for harmonised, advanced services, particularly for liquidity management; (ii) the needs arising from the enlargement of the European Union and the Eurosystem; (iii) the market demand for greater efficiency through the implementation of advanced technological solutions; and, (iv) the need for enhanced business continuity solutions.
The financial markets of the euro-area countries, together with Bulgaria, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, participate in T2. Approximately 1,000 commercial banks - established in Europe - have a settlement account in the system at its respective central bank. T2, therefore, settles a predominant share of large-value euro-denominated payments. Over 350,000 payments are settled each day through the system, amounting to nearly 2,000 billion euro.
Directorate General for Markets and Payment Systems
Payment Sistems Directorate
Wholesale Payment Systems Division
Via Pastrengo, 14 - Roma
Tel: +39 06 4792 5700 - +39 06 4792 3844