1 September 2004
BRUSSELS – The Belgian finance ministry is making cautious moves to scrap the one and two eurocents coins, it emerged on Wednesday.
Finance Minister, Didier Reynders, said he had given the go-ahead to halt the production of the smallest coins.
But in an interview with La Derniere Heure, he warned against acting too speedily.
“I am in favour of scrapping these coins but in a progressive way so as not to revive the debate on price inflation and the claims by shop owners that they have been forced to put prices up,” he said.
The coins will no longer be minted from January to allow for the gradual rounding of prices.
Advice on tariffs for price-rounding will be issued at the same time.
“For traders, it would be wiser to keep a psychologically favourable price, opting, for example, for EUR 9.95 rather than EUR 10,” said Reynders.
He dismissed concerns over fuel prices, which are still charged to the euro cent, as exact prices could still be charged while the coins were in circulation as well as being rounded to the nearest five cents.
Belgium would not be the first country to scrap the smallest euro coins.
The Finnish were the first to register a complaint, at the launch of the euro, followed by the Dutch who have just announced they will get rid of one and two eurocents.
Almost 90 percent of Dutch supermarkets already round to the nearest five cents.
Germany is still considering the question.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news