site.btaBulgarian Deputy PM Pekanov: Croats Realize Currency Changeover Will Bring Them Closer to Europe
A tour of retail outlets and the main wholesale market in Zagreb on Monday marked the beginning of a two-day working visit by Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister for EU Funds Atanas Pekanov to Croatia.
The aim of the visit is to gather expertise on the process of Croatia's accession to the Eurozone. In early June, the country received the green light to adopt the single European currency after joint reports by the European Central Bank and the European Commission.
At the end of his tour of the capital, Pekanov told BTA that the process of Croatia's accession is unfolding normally and successfully. "The Croats see that the steps towards adopting the euro are important because they will bring them closer to Europe," he commented.
"In the commercial outlets we saw one of the most important mechanisms, the dual price tagging in kunas and euros," Pekanov said. According to him, the Croats may exchange their kunas for euros in the next six months. The plan adopted by the latest regular government in Bulgaria is to give the people a month's time during which they can use both the national currency (the lev) and the euro, the Deputy PM said.
During his tour of Zagreb, Pekanov talked with ordinary people about their expectations of the euro changeover.
Discussing the possibility that the change can increase inflation further, Pekanov said rising prices are currently a huge problem throughout Europe. He plans to discuss the matter with the Croatian Finance Ministry on Tuesday. "The introduction of the euro has hardly ever influenced the basic inflation process," he opined.
Also on Monday, the guest held meetings with the Head of the European Commission's Representation in Zagreb Ognian Zlatev and with Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Natasa Tramisak.
On Tuesday, he is due to talk with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Finance Minister Marko Primorac and the central bank management, and to have meetings in the national parliament.