Euro changeover a 'success' despite widespread violations

Take note – story published 9 years ago

Latvia's currency switch from the lats to the euro was a success, central bank governor Ilmars Rimšēvičs said Tuesday, despite data showing that more than a third of retailers broke the rules regarding dual pricing.

Speaking on LTV's morning news show, Rimšēvičs said: "I don't want to seem immodest but it has been unbelievably smooth... now we see Lithuania moving towards the euro and Latvia can be regarded as a model of how to adopt the euro."

Asked if there had been any problems at all with what has been a major change, Rimšēvičs replied: “I can honestly say no,” citing “excellent cooperation” between the central bank, commercial banks and finance ministry.

However, on the same broadcast just one day after Latvia ended a nine-month-long dual pricing period during which all prices by law had to be displayed in both lati and euros, Baiba Vitolina, head of Latvia's Consumer Rights Protection Center (PTAC) said dual pricing violations had been found in 35 percent of checks carried out by its staff.

A large proportion of the errors were the result of inaccurate price conversions between the two currencies, Vitolina said and were chiefly discovered in small-scale retailers rather than major stores.

“I believe most of the mistakes were human error. I don’t think that the violations we found were due to the companies trying to make a profit using euro adoption as an excuse,” Vitolina said.

Latvia adopted the euro on January 1, 2014. Southern neighbor Lithuania is expected to become the nineteenth country to join the single currency bloc next year.

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