BRUSSELS, Belgium: The European Union (EU) has removed the last obstacles for Croatia to adopt the euro currency, the first expansion of the currency bloc in almost a decade.
EU finance ministers approved three related laws enabling Croatia to become the 20th member of the eurozone on 1 January.
Lithuania was the last country to adopt the currency in 2015.
In Brussels, Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Maric told reporters: “This is a big day for Croatia, I dare say historic.”
By achieving closer financial ties with the other members of the currency bloc and the European Central Bank’s monetary authority, the introduction of the euro will give Croatia economic benefits.
It also offers political rewards, as it gives members greater influence at the EU’s highest decision – making table.
EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said Croatia’s accession to the monetary bloc is “an important moment for the European Union” and “confirms that the euro is an attractive, resilient and successful global currency.”
While the Croatian political elite considers the adoption of the euro a success, ordinary citizens, who are already coping with double-digit inflation, are worried about further price increases.
Visnja Gacic, a resident of Zagreb, said: “They are constantly comforting us on the radio that prices will be good, but I do not believe that. I have a friend in Slovenia, and when they introduced the euro, prices went sky high,” he said. reported by the Associated Press.
Before a country adopts the euro, it must meet a set of economic conditions related to low inflation, sound public finances, a stable exchange rate and limited borrowing costs.
“It’s a wonderful club to be a member of, but it requires commitment, commitment, continued respect for the rules, and I know we can not expect anything less from Croatia. Together we are stronger,” said Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank.