The European Commissioner for Economy, Pedro Solbes, said in Palma yesterday that the European Union's small business sector is lagging behind in their preparations for the introduction of the single currency at the start of next year. Solbes said during a visit to Palma that only 31 per cent of the Union's small business community is ready and stressed the importance of businesses updating and adapting their computer software before the end of the year - a warning which the Balearic government has been trying to convey. The Commissioner also revealed that recent surveys have found that only 63 per cent of EU small businesses intend to adapt themselves for the Euro, although the vast majority have taken little action. With regards to Spain just a third of the small business sector is ready, although 76 per cent do intend to take the necessary steps. Solbes however stressed the importance of adapting for the Euro as quickly as possible so that all the new systems, in particular computer programmes, can be tried and tested before e-day on January 1 next year. Solbes yesterday met the Balearic President Francesc Antich and the local Minister for Finance, Joan Mesquida in Peguera where a group of 70 local traders took part in a practical Euro workshop in order to try and get people used to handling and using the new currency and accustomed to its value. Local stores were trading in Euros and many of the items were priced in both Pesetas and Euros in order to see how tourists reacted to the new currency.
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