Croatia joins the Eurozone and Schengen Area

EU member Croatia joined both the Eurozone and the Schengen Area on 1 January 2023. At a joint press conference in Zagreb, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke of a "day for history books". The reactions of the press range from applause to criticism.

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Népszava (HU) /

Also time to say goodbye to the forint

Hungary would also benefit from having the single currency, says Népszava:

“It is probably telling that four of our five EU neighbours have already converted to the euro. The single currency has many advantages: we could avoid the exchange rate losses we so often experience here with the forint, plus it would make life easier for investors and tourists. The Slovaks and the Slovenes, for example, are already thankful for the day they introduced the euro.”

La Tribune de Genève (CH) /

Thanks for warding off refugees

Croatia has been admitted to the Schengen Area as a reward for its tough stance against people seeking protection, fumes La Tribune de Genève:

“Countries like Croatia, which zealously protect us from this 'civilisational threat', as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán put it, are being rewarded by being admitted even deeper into the circle of Europe's 'happy few'. We are trapped in our logic of resistance and refuse to face the facts: a hermetically sealed border is a myth. If anything, our efforts will only boost the smugglers' trade.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Proof of progress

Večernji list stresses the importance of accession:

“Croatia as a state and its citizens, together with the entire EU, to which we have belonged since 2013, are moving forward and achieving the goals set to change life for the better. Therein lies the historical value of yesterday, which is as important in the life of this European state and nation as any other. ... Being a full member of the EU without being a member of the Schengen Area and the Eurozone was like having only one leg in Europe. We have made an effort to wring value out of that too, but we are only now standing with both feet in the centre of European integration.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

No guarantees, but opportunities

But Jutarnji list warns:

“EU accession ten years ago - after a ten-year delay - and accession to the Eurozone and the Schengen Area now are merely opportunities, not guarantees. Roast geese did not fall from the sky yesterday. Delicacies - be they meat or fish - must continue to be earned. It is not easy for Croatia to solve its own problems, the causes of which are mainly external, which is why EU membership is a practical solution. However, it has proven that it can also react independently: no one else liberated its territory from the occupiers in the nineties. ... On the other hand, Croatia has also shown that it is incapable of solving problems it has itself created, but in fact only exacerbates them.”