Croatia has adopted the single European currency and abolished border procedures for European passport holders, two major stops for the country since it joined the European Union nearly a decade ago.

The country located in the Balkans and depositing its currency (kuna) became the twentieth country in the eurozone.

It has also joined the “Schengen” area, which allows more than 400 million people to travel without visas between its countries, which totals 27 countries when entering Croatia.

Experts say that the transition to the euro will help support the Croatian economy at a time when inflation is rising around the world due to the Ukrainian crisis.

However, the feelings of the Croats are mixed, as they welcome the abolition of border controls, some are afraid of switching to the euro currency, as the right-wing opposition says that this will only be in the interests of large countries such as Germany and France.

Those responsible for the euro and Schengen accession decisions defended the move, with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković saying last Wednesday that the two decisions are “strategic goals in the context of deeper European Union accession.”

Croatia, a former Yugoslav republic of 3.9 million that fought a war of independence in the 1990s, joined the European Union in 2013.

The euro is now widely used in Croatia, accounting for 80 percent of bank deposits, and Zagreb’s main trading partners belong to the eurozone.

And “Agence France Presse” quotes experts that the transition to the euro will reduce the conditions for borrowing amid economic difficulties.

Inflation in Croatia in January was 13.5% compared to 10% in the euro area.

Analysts note that countries in the east of the European Union that are not members of the euro area, such as Poland or Hungary, were more exposed to risks of rising inflation.

Croatia’s accession to the Schengen area will support the country’s main tourism sector, which accounts for 20 percent of gross domestic product.

Source: AFP

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