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Why Romania needs the euro now 24/01/2010

Posted by allthingsro in quirks.
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Forget the economic benefits, there are real social and personal reasons why Romania needs the euro today.

Flashback: Hyperinflation, the Romanian Lei reaches 55,000 to the pound. A housewife could go to the supermarket, buy some joints of meat, hand over a wad of notes, which the checkout-girl runs through a machine, and still it’s not enough. Something needed to be done.

And eventually action was taken… The Romanian Lei (ROL) was replaced with the New Romanian Lei (RON), at the rate of 10,000 ROL to 1 RON.

However, this intervention failed to produce the necessary results because the Romanian people continue to think, talk, eat and dream in ROL.

Now that’s fine for Romanians, who are used to mentally juggling complex currency conversions. But for tourists, it’s a complete nightmare. Even if your average tourist speaks some Romanian, he has little way of knowing whether the price just quoted was in ROL or RON and can readily reveal his ignorance by handing over substantially more than the actual price…

It gets worse under the old ROL regime, there was a shorthand. It was a hassle to keep adding “thousand” to the end of every price. So the price of a bus ticket from Bucharest to Sibiu, for example, was “two hundred” when actually that meant “two hundred thousand ROL”.
And despite the potentially life-saving introduction of the RON, people continue to talk in the ROL shorthand. When a certain visitor to Romania visited the land beyond the forest in 2007, she was told by a post office clerk that a telephone card cost “two hundred” (200,000 ROL), when the actual price was 20 RON.

EU leaders take heed! Forget the convergence criteria, Romania needs the euro now. Save thousands of visitors to Romania from confusion by giving this country the single European currency.