Croatia’s government threatens to blacklist retailers who hike prices during switch to euro

Croatia’s government threatens to blacklist retailers who hike prices during switch to euro
Economy Minister Davor Filipovic says retailers won't get away with hiking prices during switch from kuna to euro. /
By bne IntelliNews January 3, 2023

Croatia’s government will intervene if traders increase prices because of the switch to the euro, Economy Minister Davor Filipovic said on January 3 following a meeting with representatives of retail chains and associations.

Croatia started using the euro on January 1 and there were reports that in some stores prices were rounded up in violation of the conversion rate of €1 to HRK7.5.

“What I told the retail chains today, and what I am telling those who will try to take advantage of the changeover to the euro and make a profit at the expense of our citizens, is that they will not get away with it and that the government will do all in its power to protect the living standard of citizens,” Filipovic said in a statement.

He added that all measures are on the table, from blacklisting retailers to a price freeze on consumer goods.

N1 reported that representatives of retailers claimed that the price hikes did not come as a consequence of the changeover to the euro but due to other factors, including the COVID-19 crisis and the Russian war in Ukraine.

Retailers claimed they rounded prices off according to the rules published by the government and the central bank.

From January 1, Croatians have been using the local currency, the Croatian kuna, alongside the euro, for two weeks. After that period, only the European currency will be used.

Preparations to adopt the euro started in 2022, and Croatia started also producing euro coins in July. To smooth the transition to the euro, Croatia launched the sale of euro coin starter kits on December 1. The kit for individuals included 33 euro coins with the Croatian national side worth €13.28, which were sold for HRK100.

In mid-December, the Croatian central bank announced that 2,700 out of 4,000 ATMs in the country would be gradually closed for service to adapt to the country's replacement of the local currency with the euro. The 2,700 ATMs were scheduled to start working only with euro banknotes from January 1. All 4,000 machines in the country are expected to be made compatible with euro banknotes by January 15.

Croatian commercial banks have decided to waive any fees normally charged to users withdrawing cash from ATMs operated by banks other than their own, in essence making all ATMs accessible free of charge to all Croatians looking to withdraw cash between December 15 and January 15.