Europe: Croatia adopts the euro and joins the Schengen area

Croatia has adopted the euro and joined the Schengen area of ​​free movement, two major steps for this small Balkan country which joined the European Union nearly a decade ago.

At midnight (23:00 GMT) on Saturday, Croatia said goodbye to its currency, the kuna, to become the twentieth member of the euro zone. At the same time, it becomes the 27th state to have joined the Schengen area, a vast area within which more than 400 million people can travel freely, without internal border controls.

Croatian leaders regularly stress the benefits that they believe their 3.9 million compatriots will derive from joining the euro zone and the Schengen area.

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.

In November, inflation reached 13.5% in Croatia, against 10% in the euro zone.

Eastern European countries that are members of the EU but have not opted for the euro, such as Poland and Hungary, proved to be even more vulnerable to inflation.

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