Croatia adopts the Euro and opens its borders to Europe
In and historic decision Croatia abandoned its national currency, adopting the Euro and joined the EU Schengen Area.
Two major main stops for Zagreb since joining the European Union nearly a decade ago.
At midnight at New Year’s Eve, Croatia, the country located in the Balkan said goodbye to its national currency Kuna, to become the twentieth country in the Eurozone.
Croatia also joined the EU Schengen Area, which will allow to move without visas between EU countries.
The statement that was issued by the Croatian government stated that, starting from January 1, 2023, barriers will be lifted at the internal land, sea and railway borders between Croatia and other countries in the Schengen area, provided that internal air barriers will be lifted on March 26/2023.
The statement as well pointed out that Croatia will also join the Eurozone as of early 2023, which means its conversion from the local currency (Kuna) to the Euro.
This decision is expected that Croatia’s accession to the Schengen space will contribute to improving the country’s economy and increase its competitiveness thanks to free, faster and cheaper trading of goods and services between member states.
Croatia, a former Yugoslav republic of 3.9 million people that fought an independence war in the 1990s, joined the European Union in 2013.
The Schengen area includes 26 countries, including 4 countries outside the European Union (Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland), and about 400 million people live in this region, and the length of the external borders reaches 50,000 km.
The Schengen agreement – which was signed in 1985 and began to be implemented in 1995 – eliminates borders between member states.
Croatia will continue to enforce strict border controls on its eastern border with its non-EU neighbors Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia.
The fight against illegal immigration remains the main challenge in monitoring the longest external land border of the European Union, which is 1,350 km.
Experts say that the adoption of the euro will contribute to supporting the economy of Croatia at a time when inflation is rising around the world in light of the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which caused an increase in food and fuel prices.
However, the feelings of the Croats are conflicting, as they welcome the abolition of border controls, some fear the transition to the Euro currency, as the right-wing opposition says that this will only be in the interest of major countries such as Germany and France.
The Euro is now widely used in Croatia, with almost 80% of bank deposits are dominated by Euros, while Zagreb’s main trading partners belong to the Eurozone.
Croats have often denominated their most valuable possessions such as cars and apartments in Euros, reflecting a lack of confidence in the local Kuna currency.
And with the entry of Croatia, the number of countries in the EU region rose to 27.