Skip to comments.Officially and unofficially, the euro reigns in the Balkans
Posted on 12/30/2011 8:57:35 PM PST by Olog-hai
The eurozone crisis has not prompted panic in the Balkans even though the euro is the currency of reference here and Montenegro and Kosovo use it despite being a long way from membership.
Throughout the region, loans are taken out and savings made in euros while salaries are determined based on the European single currency.
"In the past, all of us in the Balkans were in love with the German mark. Since it disappeared, the euro rules," explained Zoran Jovanovic while sipping coffee at the popular Belgrade Biblioteka café.
"It is the case in Belgrade, Zagreb, Podgorica, Skopje, Tirana, Sarajevo or even Pristina, everyone thinks in euros," said the 40-year old architect.
While some European Union states struggle for years to fulfill the strict economic and monetary criteria to enter the single-currency zone, Kosovo and Montenegro have already made the euro their national currency.
If the euro does not survive, many in the region are ready to return to their first love -- the German mark.
"If the euro is abandoned, the best decision will be to return to the German mark," Montenegrin economic expert Milenko Popovic told AFP.
Pristina salesman Mentor Latifi, 40, also believes Kosovo would return to its previous default currency in such a scenario.
"Kosovo is a small country and its hopes lie in its link with Germany. We will adopt the German mark. And we will not be the only ones to do so," Latifi predicted.
(Excerpt) Read more at eubusiness.com ...
"The euro was adopted in 2002 at the same time as in Europe," Agron Dida of Kosovo's Central bank told AFP.A "gentlemen's agreement"?
"The EU did not decide officially to grant Kosovo the right to use the euro, but there was a gentlemen's agreement between the UN and EU to allow Kosovo to use it," he said, explaining how the first batch of 150 million sent from the German central bank to Pristina was transferred in a plane under NATO military protection.