BREGANA BORDER CROSSING, Croatia — Croatia rang in two historic modifications with the brand new yr, because the European Union’s (EU) youngest member joined each the EU’s border-free Schengen zone and the euro frequent forex, fulfilling longstanding ambitions of shut integration with Europe.
On the Bregana border crossing with neighboring 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, symbolizing the top of border checks.
“If there are historical moments, special moments which should provide us with great honor and when we witness the achievement of strategic goals of a state — this is such a day,” Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic mentioned 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 celebrate”.
“Today Croatia joins the Schengen Area and the eurozone, two immense achievements for the youngest member state of the European Union and both reached on the very same day. So indeed, this is a day for the history books.”
Mr. Plenkovic and Ms. Von Der Leyen later toured the capital Zagreb the place they purchased espresso in a restaurant utilizing euros, which changed Croatia’s kuna forex. After a server introduced their coffees to an out of doors desk, Mr. Plenkovic paid with a handful of euro notes, whereas Ms. Von Der Leyen, seated subsequent to him, applauded.
Croatia entered the EU in 2013. It turns into the 27th nation to be a part of the Schengen space, and the 20th to undertake the euro forex.
Finance Minister Marko Primorac touted some great benefits of utilizing the euro to lawmakers final month, saying it might strengthen the economic system, enhance the funding local weather and make Croatia extra resistant to exterior shocks. — Reuters