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Last Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007, 16:01 GMT
Euro price rises upset Slovenes
Euros withdrawn from cashpoint in Ljubljana
Slovenia is the first ex-communist country to get the euro
A consumer watchdog body in Slovenia says the country's transition to the euro is going smoothly but many people have complained of price rises.

"We've had a lot more complaints since 1 January," said Breda Kutin, head of the Slovenian Consumers' Association.

She said most complaints concerned prices in the service sector, such as cafes, hairdressers and car parks.

Slovenia, formerly part of communist Yugoslavia, became the 13th member of the euro zone on 1 January.

The European Commission said on Friday that Slovenia's transition to the euro was happening "in a smooth and swift way".

The Commission said some 40% of Slovenia's tolar currency had already been withdrawn from circulation and all cash dispensers had now been converted into euros.

No price shock

From 15 January all payments will be in euros only, though the dual display of prices will continue until mid-2007. One euro (0.7) is worth 239.6 tolars.

Mrs Kutin told the BBC News website that banks had increased their charges even before the euro was introduced, with some banks doubling their tariffs for money transfers.

"We'd like the government to think about regulation in sectors where we don't really have competition, especially public utilities. The standard of regulation is still rather low in Slovenia," she said.

But she said the price rises were not as severe as in Greece or Italy when they introduced the euro.

Strong competition in the retail sector had helped prevent sharp price rises in the shops, she said.

The association is closely monitoring price changes, she said, adding that it was still too early to give reliable national figures.

She said the big response from consumers was encouraging.

"Our consumers don't usually react in such a big way. This is an important step - now they are proactive."


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Slovenia
02 Jan 07 |  Country profiles
Slovenes unruffled by euro dawn
01 Jan 07 |  Europe
Q&A: EU enlargement
01 Jan 07 |  Europe

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