Historic New Year as Croatia Joins the Euro, Schengen Area

Croatia, Bregana border crossing – Croatia will celebrate New Year 2 as the European Union’s youngest member joins both the EU’s borderless Schengen area and a common euro currency, realizing its long-standing ambition of closer integration with Europe. We have undergone a historic change.

At the Bregana border crossing with neighboring Slovenia, the barrier was lifted for the last time before police removed the sign at midnight and installed a placard reading “free passage” to symbolize the end of the border crossing. I was.

Speaking at a ceremony at the border late Sunday, Prime Minister Andrei Plenkovic said: “If there is a historic moment, a special moment that gives us great honor and we are witnessing the achievement of our national strategic objectives, this is such a day,” he said. .

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was also present, praising it as a “day to celebrate”.

“Today Croatia joined the Schengen Area and the Eurozone. This is two great achievements for the European Union’s youngest member state, both achieved on the same day. It’s day.”

croatian police
People attend the opening of a border crossing as Croatia enters the EU-uncontrolled Schengen area on January 1, 2023 in Bregana, Croatia. (Borut Zivulovic/Reuters)

Plenkovic and von der Leyen later traveled to the capital city of Zagreb to buy coffee in a cafe using the euro, which had replaced Croatia’s Kuna currency. After the server brought the coffee to the outdoor table, Plenkovic paid with a handful of euro bills and von der Leyen, who sat next to him, applauded.

Croatia joined the EU in 2013. It will be her 27th country to join the Schengen Area and her 20th country to adopt the Euro currency.

Finance Minister Marko Primorak last month touted to parliamentarians the benefits of using the euro to strengthen the economy, improve the investment climate and make Croatia more resilient to external shocks. He said he would.