Written Answers. - Euro Currency.

Seán Ryan

Question:

89 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if, having regard to the concerns she has expressed with regard to the lack of preparation for the introduction of the euro among small companies, she will indicate the specific proposals she has to ensure the maximum possible level of preparation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7119/01]

Forfás has managed the EMU business awareness campaign since 1996 on behalf of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The latest survey undertaken by the ESRI on behalf of the Forfás EMU business awareness campaign on the levels of preparations by businesses shows that many small businesses have not yet made adequate preparations for the changeover.

The campaign held a national conference on the euro in Loughrea, County Galway, on 19 February 2001 which highlighted the changeover experiences of the SME firms involved in the Loughrea euro town project as they switched to euro-based trading. The Loughrea project has identified many practical issues for SMEs in preparing for the euro.

Other activities planned by the campaign for the remainder of the changeover period will include a major advertising campaign using television, radio, press and Internet advertising; new information prepared and distributed to SMEs, covering cash changeover, accounting, software and guidelines for retailers; a training pack for retailers distributed to every retailer during the summer; and presentation on the relevant EMU planning issues for SMEs at meetings, conferences, etc.

Ultimately, however, it is the responsibility of each firm to ensure that it is able to conduct its business in euro from 1 January 2002 and the EMU business awareness campaign can only assist in providing the necessary information that will assist them to do this. The primary concern, therefore, for the campaign is to ensure that each business is made sufficiently aware of the need to have made the changeover by 31 December 2001 and that each company is encouraged to determine the likely scale of the changeover operation for their particular business and prepare its plan accordingly.