Jonas Hamers / ImageGlobe

"Rounding off to 5 euro cents to become obligatory"

Belgian economy minister Kris Peeters is bringing forward legislation that will oblige retailers to round off the total amount of any bill paid in cash to five euro cents.  Earlier the retailers' organisation Unizo called for this to be made compulsory.

Miet Deckers, a spokeswoman for the economy minister, says that the legislation will be brought forward after the summer recess as practically all retailers' organisations favour the move including Unizo, Comeos, the NSZ and the UCM.  The banking federation too is in favour.

In recent days there have been reports in the media warning of a shortage of one and two eurocent coins at supermarket chain Carrefour and elsewhere further fuelling calls for a change in the law.  Under Belgian law retailers are already allowed to round off bill totals, but industry watchers say many retailers fear the reaction from customers.