11:46 / 01.06.2022.

Author: Branko Lozančić

European Commission and ECB green-light Croatia's bid to join the Eurozone



Foto: Dubravka Petric / PIXSELL

Before the changeover to the Euro, starting in 2023, the obligation to show double prices will begin in September and will last for the entire next year. However, many, for information purposes, have already started to show prices on invoices in both kunas and Euros. Citizens fear that the introduction of the Euro will be used by many for additional price increases, and consumer associations warn of possible manipulation of the unrealistic exchange rate.

The European Commission and the European Central Bank have issued a positive convergence report on Croatia meeting the criteria to join the Eurozone. Only one final step remains before Croatia can adopt the Euro on January 1st of next year, and that is a positive decision from the European Commission, which is expected on July 12th at a meeting of the Council of Finance Ministers in Brussels.

"Today is an historic moment for Croatia. After a great deal of hard work it has met all the conditions for adopting the Euro as its currency. Congratulations to Croatia, its authorities and people, on this impressive achievement. It paves the way for Croatia to join the Euro Area on January 1st next year. Of course, subject to approval by member states. This would mark Croatia's full integration into the European Union, less than a decade after its accession. Adopting the Euro brings real benefits for Croatian economy and people. And a strong and larger Euro Area also boosts Europe's global strengths. So, this is important both for Croatia and the entire EU. Our currency is a symbol of Europe's strengths, unity and solidarity. Now, Croatia is really knocking on the Euro's door," said Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commissioner for Trade.

Dual display of prices has begun and citizens are afraid of rising prices

You will pay 27 kuna for a juice and frappe in the center of Varaždin, which is 3.86 euros. Guests pay in kunas - Euros are on the bill for information only. And such double presentation of prices on invoices in Croatia is already carried out in about four hundred cafes, shops and on highways.

“It is a technical thing to prepare their bills, their programs, and consumers have already encountered this when paying tolls, on monitors and bills double prices are shown,” says Sanja Keretić from Varaždin Consumer Association.

In early September, double pricing will be mandatory for all. This is a key measure for consumer protection, and the proposed conversion rate is 7.53 kuna per Euro.

“We will monitor the movement of prices on the market by cooperating with the Central Bureau of Statistics, which will monitor the movement of prices for a basket of over a hundred goods and services through a number of shops and cities,” says Nataša Mikuš Žigman, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy.

This will prevent manipulations and unrealistic price increases, points out the Ministry of Economy. But citizens are afraid of rising prices.

“Everything will become more expensive, that is why it is becoming more expensive now, so that it would not be 200 percent, but only 100 percent,” said one citizen.

Our export-oriented companies are looking forward to the euro. This, they point out, will speed up and facilitate their business.

“It should contribute to overall business, as the relevant institutions assure us, the system should become more stable, more resilient,” says Igor Benaković, President of the Management Board of the Bauwerk Group Croatia.

In order for everything to be transparent, retailers will have to respect the Code, and supervision will be performed by consumer associations in addition to the State Inspectorate. They warn they are already burdened.

“The State Inspectorate is already burdened with consumer complaints precisely because all bodies - the Ministry and even the Inspectorate itself – urge consumers to send a report to them if they are not satisfied with their actions,” says Sanja Keretić from the Varaždin Consumer Association.

In conclusion institutions and traders who manipulate the conversion will end up on the black list.

Source: HRT

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