Croatia prepares to enter the Euro Europe Without Borders Club
Zagreb: Croatia is counting its final hours on Saturday before switching to the euro and entering Europe’s passport-free zone. These are two important steps for the country since joining the European Union almost a decade ago.
At midnight (2300 GMT Saturday), the Balkans will leave the kuna and become the 20th member of the eurozone.
It is also the 27th country in the passport-free Schengen area. which is the largest country in the world which allows more than 400 million people to travel freely among members
experts say Adopting the euro would protect Croatia’s economy at a time of rising global inflation. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine As a result, food and fuel prices skyrocketed.
But sentiments among the Croatians were mixed. While they welcomed the end of border controls. But some people are worried about changing the euro. Right-wing opposition groups say this will only benefit large countries such as Germany and France.
“I will weep for my kunas. Prices will skyrocket,” said Drazen Golemac, a 63-year-old pensioner from Zagreb.
His wife Sandra disagreed, saying “the euro is worth more”.
“Nothing has changed on January 1. Everything has been calculated in euros for two decades,” said clerk Neven Banic.
Authorities have defended their decision to join the eurozone and Schengen. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Wednesday it was “Two Strategic Goals of Deepening EU Integration”
stability and safety
Croatia, a former Yugoslav republic of 3.9 million people who fought a war of independence in the 1990s, joined the European Union in 2013.
The euro is already predominantly in Croatia. About 80% of bank deposits are denominated in euros. And Zagreb’s main trading partners are in the eurozone.
Croatians have long valued their most valuable assets, such as cars and apartments, in euros. This shows the lack of confidence in the local currency.
Experts say accepting the euro will ease borrowing terms amid economic hardships.
Croatia’s inflation rate was 13.5 percent in November, compared to 10 percent in the eurozone.
analysts said Eastern EU members with non-Eurozone currencies, such as Poland or Hungary. There is more risk from soaring inflation.
Croatia’s entry into the borderless Schengen area will boost the Adriatic country’s vital tourism industry, which accounts for 20 percent of its GDP.
The long queues at 73 land border crossings with EU member Slovenia and Hungary will become history.
Border checks will only end on March 26 at the airport. due to technical problems
Croatia will continue to implement strict border checks at its eastern border with Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia, its non-EU neighbors.
Fighting illegal immigrants remains a major challenge in protecting the EU’s longest external land border at 1,350 kilometers (840 miles).