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Monday, 13 May, 2002, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Eisteddfod town embraces euros
Eisteddfod pavilion
The International Eisteddfod attracts more than 6,500 competitors
A north Wales town which annually plays host to the International Eisteddfod is to become the first in the UK to declare itself a euro zone.

Llangollen in Denbighshire, will make the euro a valid currency in shops, pubs and restaurants as part of its International Eisteddfod in July.

Many shops will accept euros

The temporary initiative was the idea of Clwyd South MP Martyn Jones who felt it would be easier for visitors who would have the inconvenience of changing currency.

"Since the euro was introduced in the rest of Europe at the start of the year, it became obvious to me that Llangollen could benefit greatly from simply throwing its doors open to the new currency," he said.

Established in 1947, the musical Eisteddfod is one of the highlights of the Welsh cultural calendar and attracts more than 6,500 competitors from 47 countries each year.

If anyone comes here and wants to pay by euro then they can but they will have to pay the commission too

Richard Gale

"The Eisteddfod organisers, the trade and tourist organisations, Denbighshire County Council and the high street banks have all worked swiftly to bring the euro zone into fruition," Mr Jones added.

But the scheme has not had a warm welcome from everyone.

The owner of Gale's Wine Bar in Llangollen Richard Gale said he would not be taking part in the scheme.

"The euro to me is a foreign currency, much the same as the franc or the dollar," he said.

"I have to go to the bank and change the money therefore there are costs involved."

Mr Gale added: "If anyone comes here and wants to pay by euro then they can but they will have to pay the commission too."

Last week the island of Anglesey unveiled a campaign to promote itself as a "euro-friendly" zone.

Anglesey Council wants to boost its economy by persuading firms to accept the euro from the estimated three million ferry passengers who travel across the island each year.

And in south Wales, pubs at Pontypridd have also decided to accept the currency.

BBC Wales's Nan Pickering reports
"In general, the adoption of the euro in Llangollen has proved popular"

More news from north east Wales
See also:

13 May 02 | UK Politics
Euro win 'possible' suggests poll
09 May 02 | Wales
Island angles to trade in euros
08 May 02 | UK Politics
Euro campaign urges Blair to act
07 May 02 | Business
Bank 'would not oppose euro'
11 Apr 02 | England
Island bus company accepts Euro
10 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Labour MPs launch anti-euro drive
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