- Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)
The Maastricht Treaty describes the process of achieving EMU in the European Union (EU) in three stages. Stage One of EMU started in July 1990 and ended on 31 December 1993; it was mainly characterised by the dismantling of all internal barriers to the free movement of capital within the EU. Stage Two of EMU began on 1 January 1994. It provided for, inter alia, the establishment of the European Monetary Institute (EMI), the prohibition of financing of the public sector by the central banks, the prohibition of privileged access to financial institutions by the public sector and the avoidance of excessive government deficits. Stage Three started on 1 January 1999 with the transfer of monetary competence to the ECB and the introduction of the euro. The cash changeover on 1 January 2002 completed the process setting up EMU.