Dr. Dorothy S. McClellan



Fully Integrating Croatia into the European Union represents 

the return of Croatia to its natural home - Europe.

Today, January 1, 2023, Croatia achieved one of its main national, strategic, political and state goals. After centuries of wandering and tragic associations in the Balkan region, Croatia has finally returned to its natural home - Europe.

At midnight, after less than ten years of membership in the European Union, Croatia became a member of the Schengen area, thereby joining the club with 26 other countries and 420 million people in the world’s largest area of free movement between countries. Border controls on land and at sea crossings with EU members have been abolished. On March 26, 2023, those at airports will also be abolished. With the new year, Croatia also became a member of the Eurozone, joining the community of more than 342 million people who use the Euro.

Today, the process of Croatia’s entry into Europe, which was outlined 30 years ago by the first Croatian president, Dr. Franjo Tuđman, was completed. We managed to achieve this in just 3 decades. “If any moment is historic, then it is this one,” said Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. In a statement that reflected his pride and excitement, he pronounced that “We have reached the moment when Croatia has achieved the fullest integration possible. As a country that was not internationally recognized 31 years ago, and was temporarily under occupation, I pay tribute and offer praise to the Croatian veterans, without whose sacrifice and contribution there would be no Croatian freedom and democracy today. By joining the Eurozone and the Schengen area, Croatia became one of only 15 European countries that are simultaneously part of these two integrations and the NATO alliance, and the only country that achieved this on the same day,” said the Prime Minister, and he added that he was glad that in 2022 Croatia also completed the Pelješki Bridge, which integrates and connects the entire Croatian territory. “Croatia deservedly achieved these goals, and after January 1, 2023, nothing will be the same for our country.”

The value of the Croatian kuna as of today, January 1, 2023

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković sitting with Ursula von der Leyen on Bana Jelačić Square in Zagreb. Paying for coffee in Euros marked the symbolic beginning of the use of the new Euro currency as a legal monetary means of transactions in Croatia. January 1, 2023.

The Croatian Kuna, which was the legal tender of the Republic of Croatia from 1991 

until the end of 2022, is going down in history.

Euro, the new Croatian currency. January 1, 2023.

Ursula von der Leyen expressed her delight and happiness: “Today, there is no better place in Europe where a new beginning and the unity of Europe could be celebrated,” said the President of the European Commission. “My dear, Happy New Year,” Ursula von der Leyen happily exclaimed to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who met her at the Bregana border crossing on the occasion of Croatia’s entry into the Schengen area.

Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar joined in the congratulations, saying that she was sincerely looking forward to Croatia’s entry into the two spaces. “Europe is our home. We are obliged to protect that home and make it comfortable.”

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, welcomed Croatia to the Eurozone and Schengen on Twitter.

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, congratulated the citizens of Croatia on joining the Eurozone and added a sentence in fluent Croatian: “On the first day of the new year, Croatia introduced a new currency, the Euro, and became the twentieth member of the Euro area and entered the Schengen area. With you, the Eurozone will be even stronger in protecting our citizens and promoting our Europe in the world,” Macron said in Croatia, as the flags of Croatia, France and the European Union are seen waving in the background. “Croatia adopts a stable and solid currency which is why inflation has been kept at very low levels. During its first 20 years of existence, the Euro held us together, resisted crisis and enabled us to live better. This is real protection for Europeans, their purchasing power, their geopolitical influences, and if we ignore the untruths uttered by a few populists, the Euro really makes Europe stronger, more resilient and the most powerful currency in the whole world,” Macron said. “Welcome to the common currency. We have shared it for 21 years. We have had more difficult periods than others, but over the course of more than two decades, together we have all shown that the Euro has provided us with unity, stability and strength,” concluded the French president.

“Welcome to the Eurozone & Schengen, Croatia. Today, Europe is becoming stronger and more united. Congratulations to Andrej Plenković on implementing reforms and guiding the country towards integration. The European Parliament welcomes you with open hearts,” the President of the EPP Deputies Club, Manfred Weber, said enthusiastically.

Today, January 1, 2023

1 Euro is worth 1.07 U.S. dollars

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