Economy 5 hours in the past (Jan 01, 2023 01:20PM ET)
© Reuters. A police member stands guard whereas the border opens as Croatia enters the EU’s control-free Schengen space, in Bregana, Croatia, January 1, 2023. REUTERS/Borut Zivulovic
BREGANA BORDER CROSSING, Croatia (Reuters) – Croatia rang in two historic modifications with the brand new yr, because the European Union’s youngest member joined each the EU’s border-free Schengen zone and the euro frequent foreign money, fulfilling longstanding ambitions of shut integration with Europe.
On the Bregana border crossing with neighbouring Slovenia, police took down indicators at midnight and a barrier was lifted up for the final time, earlier than a placard studying “free passage” was put in, symbolising the top of border checks.
“If there are historic moments, particular moments which ought to present us with nice honour and after we witness the achievement of strategic targets of a state — that is such a day,” Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic stated at a ceremony on the border afterward Sunday.
He was joined by European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen, who hailed it as “a day to have a good time”.
“Right this moment Croatia joins the Schengen Space and the eurozone, two immense achievements for the youngest member state of the European Union and each reached on the exact same day. So certainly, it is a day for the historical past books.”
Plenkovic and von der Leyen later toured the capital Zagreb the place they purchased espresso in a restaurant utilizing euros, which changed Croatia’s kuna foreign money. After a server introduced their coffees to an outside desk, Plenkovic paid with a handful of euro notes, whereas von der Leyen, seated subsequent to him, applauded.
Croatia entered the EU in 2013. It turns into the twenty seventh nation to hitch the Schengen space, and the twentieth to undertake the euro foreign money.
Finance Minister Marko Primorac touted the benefits of utilizing the euro to lawmakers final month, saying it might strengthen the financial system, enhance the funding local weather and make Croatia extra proof against exterior shocks.