SPECIAL REPORT: THE EURO: Avoiding the pitfalls on EURO-Day

Series Title
Series Details 08/11/01, Volume 7, Number 41
Publication Date 08/11/2001
Content Type

Date: 08/11/01

Ignore the critics who have slammed the launch of the euro. From conception to birth in a few short years, it has actually been a storming success...so far. But things could still blight the fledgling currency's first days. Peter Chapman takes a light-hearted look at the things that could go wrong on 1 January - and how they might be avoided.

  • Photocopied banknotes have been known to fool restaurateurs, so follow Wim Duisenberg's simple 'feel, look and tilt' test to check your euro note is genuine. It will have a hologram, watermark, security thread and iridescent strip.
  • There's always the risk that terrorists could try to flood the eurozone with almost-perfect fake 500 euro notes. Don't panic - EU crime enforcement agencies and central banks have prmised to track fake notes.
  • Cash machines run out of notes: You're stuffed.
  • Long queues at bakeries on 1 January because customers don't have small denominations to pay for their bread. Take a newspaper with you.
  • Long queues in newsagents because customers don't have small denominations to pay for their papers. If you get to the bakers first, buy a croissant to eat while you are waiting for your European Voice. Better still, subscribe and avoid the hassle!
  • Unprepared shop staff spend an eternity dealing with the unfamiliar euro change. Spread the word that employers should give their assistants more training in the lead up to 1 January.
  • Greedy Brussels taxi drivers con customers paying in Belgian francs by using false euro exchange rates stacked in their favour: call the police, take the Metro - or pay in euro.
  • Old folk struggle to understand the new currency. Take heart, Wim Duisenberg is no spring chicken and if 'Dim Wim' can get the hang of it, anyone can.
  • Cross-border bank charges are so expensive (because an EU regulation cutting their cost is delayed) that people send cash by mail instead but it fails to arrive because postal services are so unreliable: use registered mail or pay by credit card.
  • The X-factor - Even Duisenberg and European Voice can't think of every possibility.
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