Next year is set to be an important year for Croatia. Not only will the country abandon its own currency, the kuna, in favour of the Euro on January 1st but it is also likely to become the 27th country to be integrated into the Schengen area of the European Union.

Croatia is getting very close to finally becoming a full member of the Schengen area in the European Union. The Schengen evaluation of Croatia started in 2016 and concluded in 2020. In October 2019, the Commission considered that Croatia had taken the measures needed to ensure the necessary conditions for the full application of the Schengen acquis.

To become part of Europe’s passport-free zone, Croatia had to fulfill 281 recommendations. Top of the list was the tightening of security at the external borders of the EU. Croatia will be responsible for monitoring travellers’ movements, particularly coming from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia.

Decision on Croatia integration into Schengen in the autumn

It is now down to the European Parliament to express its opinion on the draft Council decision on the full application of the Schengen acquis in Croatia.

The draft text is now being sent to the European Parliament for consultation. Once the Parliament has delivered its opinion, the decision may be submitted to the Council for adoption. The Council decision must to be adopted unanimously by those member states which already apply all parts of the Schengen acquis, plus Croatia.

Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, recently spoke about how Croatia’s admission to the Schengen area would mean a lot for tourism. Travellers coming from overseas will then be able to visit Croatia without asking for a specific visa if they have already a Schengen visa. Land transportation time will be reduced as controls will be abolished between Croatia and neighbouring countries, such as Slovenia and Hungary that are already in the Schengen area.

If fully adopted, no controls will take place at land borders on January 1st, 2023. However, airports would need more time to prepare. The abolition of passport’s controls is likely to take place from March 2023.

Croatia in Schengen and Eurozone
National Theatre in Zagreb/Photo: LC/Cleverdis)

Euro confirmed as Croatia official currency

Another important evolution is also the introduction of the Euro currency in Croatia from January 1st, 2023. Croatia would then become the 20th member of the eurozone on that date. According to a statement from the ECB, the European Central Bank: “The Commission has concluded that Croatia is ready to adopt the euro.”

Once a formal approval is enacted by the 27 EU economy ministers in July, Croatia will prepare to switch its monetary system from the kuna to the euro.

Croatia will then adopt dual pricing in the autumn and will then switch over completely to the euro over the New Year with the conversion rate being set at 7.53 kuna to one euro. The adoption of the euro in Croatia will also have a positive effect on tourists travelling from and around Europe, who will no longer have to change currency when travelling to the country.

During the first five months of 2022, tourism in Croatia continued its strong recovery. The country recorded almost 10 million overnights, up by 153% over the same period of 2021. This number represents already 88% of the results recorded in 2019, the last year prior to the Covid pandemic.

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