PRISTINA: At a cafe in Kosovo’s capital Pristina, staff have given up checking whether the 2-euro coins people use to pay are genuine, as such a high proportion are fake and as the high quality of some counterfeits makes it almost impossible to tell.
“At the beginning everyone was worried and was checking if the 2-euro coins were fake or not,” said waiter Endrit.
He and his colleagues would hold coins up to the light to examine them or plunk them down on a table to see how they sounded.
“Now we don’t check anymore... we may be taking fake money or may be giving out fake money. It is all the same.” The number of fake 2-euro coins in circulation has seen a massive increase this year, according to law enforcement agencies.
Kosovo and neighbouring Montenegro are not part of the Euro Zone but nevertheless use the euro as their currency.
At a small shop close to the cafe in Pristina, of 11 2-euro coins in the cash register, the shopkeeper said she believed six were fake, and that so many in circulation were fake she had no choice but to accept them.
At Pristina police’s forensic laboratory, staff examined more than 30,000 counterfeit 2-euro coins in the first half of this year, compared to 4,451 in the same period last year.
“The quality ranges from very poor to very good,” said Vjollca Mavriqi, an expert on counterfeit money at the lab.
“Before, the fake coins were not magnetic and now they are, before they had issues with weight but now they match the genuine ones.”
Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2023