Ten months away from the introduction of the euro and nearly 60 per cent of companies in the Balearics have not even started adapting for the single currency. The Balearic government's director general for financial policies, Jose Lluis Gil, said yesterday that the results of a recent study indicate that 13.2 per cent of local businesses are totally prepared and a further 28.8 per cent are in the process of getting ready for the euro, but 58.2 per cent have not even started. Gil claimed yesterday that the figures are similar to other regions in Spain, but a national report published last month stated that the Balearics were lagging behind most regions, such as Cantabria, for example, where 75 per cent of businesses have already adapted. Gil, speaking nearly a year to the day before the peseta is withdrawn from circulation on March 1, 2002, admitted “there is a lot to be done and what is worrying us (the government) is that local businesses do not share the same sense of urgency. “The local business sector was very worried about the millennium effect, but there is a great sense of apathy about the introduction of the euro,” he said. Gil said that over the next few months the government intends to launch a series of campaigns and initiatives in order to prompt companies into smartening up their act and changing their attitude to the introduction of the euro. The results of the survey carried out by the Balearic University, also reveal that while little has been done about the Euro, 98.8 per cent of small businesses are aware of the single currency, although 27 per cent do not know the correct value of the euro and 30 per cent do not know when it is going to be introduced “which is why too many businesses and professionals are unaware of the need to get adapted and soon.” Just over 38 per cent of businesses are “pessimistic” about the benefits of the euro and 87.7 per cent do not believe that the single currency will boost sales. Nearly all local businesses are convinced that the euro is going to cause a host of difficulties. The business sector which appears least ready is, ironically, the tourist industry which will be dealing with European Union members and non members, the latter of which may find the euro confusing. Yesterday members of the Balearic Islands euro body met for talks to discuss how best to implement the euro plan which has been drawn up by the government. Over 50 million pesetas are to be spent in the awareness drives which are not going to be exclusive to business. The government also wants to target the elderly, so that they are fully aware of all the implications, especially those with poor vision, and non-European Union residents.


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