Croatia has switched to the euro and entered Europe’s passport-free zone – two important milestones for the country after joining the European Union (EU) nearly a decade ago.
At midnight on Sunday, the Balkan nation bid farewell to its kuna currency and became the 20th member of the eurozone.
It is now the 27th nation in the Schengen zone, the world’s largest passport-free travel area, which enables more than 400 million people to move freely around its members.
“It is the season of new beginnings. And there is no place in Europe where this is more true than here in Croatia,” tweeted EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, as she arrived in Croatia to mark the occasion.
She met Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Slovenian President Natasa Pirc Musar at a border crossing with EU member Slovenia.
Croatia, a former Yugoslav republic of 3.9 million people that fought a war of independence in the 1990s, joined the EU in 2013.
Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker reports from Zagreb, Croatia.
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