Although the euro is not becoming the legal tender of the Republic of Croatia, the introduction of euro banknotes and coins in 12 member countries of the European Monetary Union at the beginning of the next year will be exceptionally important for Croatia. The reason: these countries are the most important Croatia's trade and financial partners and countries where most Croatian tourists come from. In addition, their currencies, which are to be withdrawn from circulation, are widely used by Croatian citizens, entrepreneurs and banks. Consequently, adequate and timely preparations of the Croatian banking system for the conversion project are highly important.
For the purpose of initiating adequate preparations and cooperation with commercial banks, the Croatian National Bank (CNB) founded a special working group for euro including representatives from different central bank departments. Today, this group held the first meeting with representatives of domestic banks and savings banks, which will be directly involved in the approaching conversion. Although the Croatian central bank has no direct authorities in the conversion, bankers were informed about the activities the CNB is preparing and engaging in for the purpose of informing the public in a timely and credible manner about the conversion and about the ways in which it may assist the banks in order to ensure a smooth conversion process in the Croatian banking system.
The Croatian central bank's support would concentrate primarily on assistance in providing secure storage and transport of cash earmarked for conversion, education of personnel about euro banknotes and coins, their security features and forgeries, as well as ensuring timely and reliable information to banks and general public. The CNB plans to intensify all these activities at the beginning of September, so that they can be conducted simultaneously with the information campaign of the ECB and in cooperation with that institution.
Attendees of the meeting held today at the CNB were given a questionnaire, which should enable the central bank to acquire a more complete insight in activities Croatian banks have engaged in so far, as well as in activities they are planning related to the introduction of the euro. Also, the CNB expects to gather information on the kind of central bank's assistance in conversion banks deem necessary. Further, representatives of the banks were acquainted with the form the CNB developed in order to collect data on foreign currency in circulation in Croatia - the introduction of euro banknotes and coins offers, namely, the right and unique opportunity for collection of these data.