New euro area members will bring new opportunities
The technical operations and euro-related opportunities may repeat themselves for Estonian enterprises in the near future. Our southern neighbour Latvia is an important trade partner for Estonia. A number of Estonian entrepreneurs are active on the Latvian market.
Looking back, I think we could have started our preparations even earlier, since the political willingness was there. The preparatory work could have created value even if we would have joined the euro area a year later.
The major project areas for the bank, as well as for many other companies, were the transition of IT systems, replacement of kroon cash with euro cash, and not least communication. For larger retail stores the challenge lay in indicating the price of goods in two currencies.
All parties in Estonia did quite well when it comes to communication. The small number of problems is a proof of that. The practical aspects of the transition were understandable for the people of Estonia, and there were no surprises. We should remember the lesson that for a huge project like this, there is never too much information, and the best way is to repeat the facts over and over again instead of taking people’s awareness for granted.
We call upon all entrepreneurs to map their lessons of the changeover to the euro and archive their major findings. Estonia is the first Baltic state to join the euro, but the enlargement of the euro area is not over, and new members will likely mean new business opportunities.
Hanno Hussar, Head of Operations in Estonia and Swedbank Euro Changeover Program Coordinator