Croatia is celebrating its accession to the Schengen area and the Eurozone, however, technical reasons are extending airport checks in the country until the end of March.
Excited to join the #Schengen area – from today #Croatia adds to simpler travelling, greater economic opportunities and more enhanced security in Europe!— Croatia in the EU (@CroatiaInEU) January 1, 2023
🇪🇺🇭🇷 #CroatiaInSchengen pic.twitter.com/tkFPin486m
1. Airport checks
The official change took place from the evening of December 31 to January 1, when Croatia said goodbye to its currency, the kuna. On the first day of the new year, 73 border posts crossing Hungary and Slovenia were closed by the authorities. In airports, however, air travelers will remain confronted with checkups at the airport until March 26 in order to fit in with airline schedule changes. “Schengen enlargement makes us stronger and Croatia can now contribute to a more prosperous and resilient Schengen area”, said European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen as she arrived in Croatia to celebrate the occasion.
2. Double milestone
After joining the EU nearly one decade ago, Croatia has officially adopted the euro as its currency. The Balkan nation reached a double milestone joining the passport-free Schengen zone — the world’s largest, which enables more than 400 million people to move freely around its members — and qualified as a Eurozone country. “It is the season of new beginnings. And there is no place in Europe where this is more true than here in Croatia,” tweeted der Leyen.
🇭🇷 It is the season of new beginnings.— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) January 1, 2023
And there is no place in Europe where this is more true than here in Croatia.
Today the country joins the Schengen area and the Eurozone.
Two immense achievements.
I’m so glad to be here, on this day of joy and pride for Croatia. pic.twitter.com/d4A2JWoOXf
While some Croatians expressed apprehension as to the change of currency citing higher prices that will become even higher, tourist agency employee Marko Pavic said Croatia was joining “an elite club.”
The euro was already a value measure — psychologically it’s nothing new — while entry into Schengen is fantastic news for tourism.Marko Pavic
3. Schengen zone
Croatia is the latest country to join the Schengen zone, which counts now with 27 members. The Schengen zone emerged in 1985 with the free movement agreement signed by France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium in the Schengen town of Luxembourg. With the agreement, five countries eliminated controls on their common borders.
In addition to free travel, the free movement of goods and services was also ensured. As of 1 January, Croatia also started issuing Schengen visas and is able to make full use of the Schengen Information System.