On 1 January 1999, the last stage of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the single European currency (Euro) was launched. Eleven countries, with a total population of 290 million, joined EMU immediately.
Cypriot businesses have not been able to ignore the advent of the Euro or treat it as 'just another currency', since its introduction is having far reaching effects on the business community as a whole. Europe is Cyprus' biggest trading partner, therefore, companies who transact with EMU countries may need to use the Euro. The same applies to businesses with subsidiaries in EMU countries, which will be shifting to the Euro.
Most businesses in Cyprus, irrespective of size, have been affected by the single European currency. Some, like financial institutions and those trading with EU Member States were affected almost at once. Others will only be affected if Cyprus joins the single currency, but they still need to be aware of developments.
Entities trading with companies in the 11 EU Member States, have had to map out new strategies from 1 January, 1999 until December, 2001, when their customers and suppliers may expect them to move from CYP (or their national currency) to the Euro. Business transactions can be conducted either in the CYP, the legacy currency or the Euro. By Augustine Touloupis, freelance reporter.