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Law Covers Mark’s Disappearance

July 4, 1999

BONN, Germany (AP) _ A draft law covering the disappearance of the German mark and introduction of euro bills and coins in 2002 will be presented soon to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Cabinet, a Finance Ministry spokeswoman said Sunday.

The law codifies an agreement reached last October between the Finance Ministry and banks, retailers, the service industry and vending machine companies for a two-month ``buffer period,″ the spokeswoman said.

Although technically the mark, symbol of postwar Germany’s economic might, will stop being legal tender on Jan. 1, 2002, stores and businesses will continue to accept it until Feb. 28 that year, along with the single European currency.

Only private individuals will be able to demand payment in euros from Jan. 1.

The decision affects only Germany, one of 11 European nations that launched the single currency this year _ but only in an abstract form used mainly by central banks, currency markets and multinational corporations for bookkeeping purposes.

The actual introduction of bills and coins in 2002 is the last phase of the union. Initial plans called for a six-month transition period, but banks and retailers wanted a shorter period to curb the costs of dealing in two currencies.

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