Central Bank: Don't buy Euro before 2002 report

Twelve countries of the European Union will make a significant leap forward towards integration in January 2002, as their national currencies will be replaced by the Euro. Although for the time being, the Czech Republic and other candidate countries can only dream about entering the Eurozone, the Czech National Bank has launched an information campaign for the Czech public. Amongst other things, it warns Czechs against converting their savings to Euros before 2002 as any banknotes they may buy are sure to be counterfeits. Vladimir Tax has the story.

The Czech National Bank points out that because the Euro is a new currency most Czechs have no idea what it looks like. Counterfeits are therefore more than likely to appear. The bank plans to train commercial bank clerks to recognize forged Euros and is planning to issue information brochures with pictures of Euro banknotes and coins.

As the best way to exchange the current European currencies to Euros, the Czech National Bank recommends a Euro account which now works with any currency of the Eurozone but will automatically be converted to the Euro after January 1, 2002.

The bank strongly advises Czechs to wait before buying Euros until that date because of the danger of counterfeits. However, exchanging cash can be pretty expensive because in this case, people will pay for the exchange twice - banks will charge for buying one currency and for selling the other. The best way, according to the Czech National Bank, is to convert the 12 out-going European currencies into Czech Crowns before March 2002.

One thing is certain. Although Czechs will need Euros when travelling to EU countries, it will be several years before the Czech Republic itself qualifies for the single European currency.