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Barat: Expectations about eurozone surrounded by myths

Expectations about Slovakia's accession to the eurozone are being accompanied by several myths, Igor Barat, Government Appointee for the Introduction of the Euro, said on August 20 in Bratislava.

According to Barat, these myths include the expectation of considerable price increases following euro adoption and a media obsession with the delayed public information campaign. The latest myth, however, Barat said, is the information that the Government conceded last week for the first time that the introduction of the euro in Slovakia is not a sure thing.

"Neither the Government, nor the central bank of Slovakia (NBS), including its highest representatives, nor the Government Appointee for the Introduction of the Euro ever said that introduction of the euro in the scheduled term was definite," Barat told journalists.

Barat said increased communication with European institutions, which seems to have been the basis for the rumor that euro adoption might not happen, has been the pattern since Slovakia's preparation for the accession to the European Union began more than a decade ago. At the moment, it's necessary to intensify this communication.

On the idea that higher prices would follow euro adoption, Barat said the first countries to introduce the euro in 2002 experienced an 0.1-0.3 percentage point increase in overall inflation. On average, the inflation stood at 2.2 percent. The greatest difference existed between real inflation and that perceived by citizens, Barat said.

"The main tool for eliminating the public's concerns surrounding increased prices is the information campaign currently being prepared. It will play an important role in explaining the mechanisms that will be used to protect consumers," Barat added.

He continued that the public information campaign is not experiencing delays, although a communication agency has yet to be chosen and the campaign is to begin as late as next year, with a focus on the second half of 2008.

Finally, Barat said people should not worry about using a high number of coins following the introduction of the euro.

"The truth is that compared to the current structure in Slovakia, we will have somewhat more coins, but it certainly cannot be viewed as a problem," Barat said.

He recalled the experience Czechs have had using coins worth 20 and even 50 crowns, saying they don't find them burdensome. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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