Slovakia's transition to the euro has been going smoothly with no major problems noticed in banks and shops, reported the European Commission (EC) on January 5. Between January 1 and 3, about 27 percent of all payments were made in euros, the TASR newswire wrote.
By January 3, all Slovak banks managed to re-launch their information systems and about one third of bank branches also stayed open during the weekend in order to enable people to exchange money. According to the EC, Slovak shopkeepers managed the situation well. Although long queues have formed in some shops, Slovaks were in general patient and welcomed the euro with pleasure. Stocking-up of shops with euro banknotes and coins went without problems, as well as withdrawal of Slovak crowns from circulation.
The Slovak Trade Inspection (SOI) has been closely monitoring whether prices in shops have been converted according to the official changeover rate (Sk30.1260/EUR). On January 1 and 2, SOI checked 203 shops and services, but uncovered only about three shortcomings - refusal of payment in euros, crowns and cash. SOI has been particularly focused on restaurants, hairdressers, cafés and car parks, as these were reported as the sectors with the highest number of problems noticed during the previous adoptions of the euro in other euro zone countries.
According to a Eurobarometer survey carried out on the third day after adoption (January 3), almost half the population still had mostly crowns in their wallets. The EC also announced that EC President Jose Manuel Barroso, Commissioner for the Economic and Monetary Issues Joaquin Almunia and Slovak Commissioner in charge of education Jan Figel will come to Bratislava on January 8 to celebrate Slovakia's entry to the euro zone.
6. Jan 2009 at 17:00