Tag Archives: schengen area

A significant day (or not?) for Croatia

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Christmas is always a good time to catch up with the family. I am Polish, however my wife comes originally from Croatia, a truly spectacularly beautiful country in the southern part of Europe. I had a chance to live in Croatia for a number of years between March 2001 and November 2004, when I was studying and conducting research for my Master’s Degree.

On 1st January 2023, Croatia joined the Eurozone and the Schengen Area. During the Festive Season, at least on a couple of occasions, this was one of the main topics of our conversations; would my friends and family members be worried about some of these changes? How will they affect their lives and/ or their standard of living?

Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular have suffered a lot in recent years. The war in the former Yugoslavia has left many people dead, misplaced and hugely traumatised. The Dayton Agreement, which was signed in 1995, put an end to the three-and-a-half-year-long Bosnian War. However, many people have criticized the agreement, which created a weak democratic structure and which has not resolved several complex issues such as borders, cultural, social and faith heritage as well as the political inheritance of the diverse post-Balkan nations.

Whilst Croatia and Slovenia, some will argue, have moved on, other countries are still trying to find a clear pathway to economic stability. Slovenia joined the European Union in 2004 and Croatia in 2013. Croatia in particular has become a traveling destination for many tourists from Europe. It is worth saying that this relatively small country with 3.8m people has a stunning coast, which attracts many visitors each year. Moreover, in 2019, just before the pandemic, tourism revenue contributed 21% of Croatia’s GDP.

So what do these most recent changes mean in practice? Many experts hope and argue that this significant milestone will strengthen Croatian economy, in particular its tourism industry. Others worry that the residents of Croatia, due to the currency change, will lose its “spending power” and to some extent, its monetary sovereignty.

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