Croatia adopted the euro and joined the Schengen area of freedom movement, two major steps for this small Balkan country that joined the EU nearly a decade ago.
At midnight on Saturday (23:00 GMT) Croatia bid farewell to its currency, the kuna, as the twentieth member of the eurozone. At the same time, it became the 27th state to join the Schengen area, a vast area where more than 400 million people can travel freely without internal border controls.
Croatian leaders continue to stress the benefits of their 3.9 million compatriots joining the eurozone and Schengen area.
According to experts, the transition to the euro will help protect the Croatian economy, one of the weakest in the EU, facing inflation, a severe energy crisis and geopolitical insecurity since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In November, inflation in Croatia reached 13.5%, compared to 10% in the Eurozone.
Eastern European countries that are part of the European Union, such as Poland and Hungary, which have not opted for the euro, have proven to be even more vulnerable to inflation.
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