Croatia set to join eurozone next year

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Croatia is on track to adopt the euro next year after EU regulators say the country met the criteria to qualify, a sign that the currency bloc will continue to expand after years of economic crises and shocks.

The European Commission said it would propose that Croatia become the 20th member country of the eurozone on January 1, 2023. Governments in the region are expected to approve the decision at a meeting on July 12. They have not opposed similar proposals in the past.

Croatia would become the first country to join the currency bloc from Lithuania in 2015. Croatia, which faces Italy across the Adriatic Sea, has about four million citizens, compared to about 340 million of the eurozone.

Bulgaria, another EU member that has not adopted the euro, did not meet all the criteria to join, the commission said. Both countries had entered the exchange rate mechanism of the region, a waiting room for the common currency area, in July 2020.

“Less than a decade after joining the EU, Croatia is now ready to join the eurozone on January 1. This will make Croatia’s economy stronger, bringing benefits. to its citizens, businesses and society at large, “said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “Croatia’s adoption of the euro will also make the euro stronger.”

Croatia would be the poorest member of the currency bloc, with a gross domestic product per capita of about $ 17,000 in 2022, compared to about $ 21,000 in Greece, which is currently the poorest member of the bloc, according to the IMF. International. Bulgaria is even poorer, with a GDP per capita of about $ 13,000 this year, compared to $ 35,000 in Italy and $ 51,000 in Germany. The United States has a GDP per capita of about $ 76,000.

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