Croatia adopts the euro and joins the Schengen area

And one more. Croatia adopted the euro and joined the Schengen area of ​​free movement on 1 January. Saying goodbye to its currency, the kuna, the country becomes the twentieth member of the euro zone. Croatia is also the 27th state to join the Schengen area, a vast area within which more than 400 million people can travel freely without internal border controls.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is expected on Sunday in the country which joined the European Union in July 2013.

Experts in favour, Croats divided

For experts, the changeover to the euro will help protect the Croatian economy, one of the weakest in the EU, in the face of galloping inflation, a serious energy crisis and geopolitical insecurity since the beginning of the February 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine. While Croatia has welcomed four times more tourists this year than it has inhabitants, entry into the Schengen zone should also give a boost to the tourist sector.

The Croats, for their part, have mixed feelings: if they generally welcome the end of border controls, the change of currency inspires mistrust. In recent days, customers have lined up outside banks and ATMs to withdraw cash, fearing liquidity problems in the aftermath of the transition period. Many Croatians fear that the introduction of the euro will lead to higher prices.

The repression of illegal immigration also remains a major challenge for the country. Since joining the EU, Croatia has inherited the daunting task of protecting an external land border more than 1 350km. It is on the so-called Western Balkan route used by migrants, but also by traffickers of arms, drugs and human beings.

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