Saturday, 4 June 2022

German Media Says Croatian Eurozone Accession Good for Tourists

June the 4th, 2022 - The German media has claimed Croatian Eurozone accession which will now definitely take place on the 1st of January 2023 is a good thing for tourists and travellers.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the opinion and subsequent decision of the European Commission (EC) that the Republic of Croatia meets all of the conditions for the introduction of the euro is important to the Germans. The tabloid Bild put it on their cover, and many other German media outlets are writing about it.

"Good news for everyone travelling to Croatia," wrote Bild, the headline of which emphasised that there will be no more trouble with the exchange of the euro into Croatian kuna. It is explained that the European Commission, among other things, monitored "inflation and exchange rate stability" and confirmed that Croatia meets the criteria. It also stated that the European Central Bank has concluded the same and quoted the statement of the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who said that the introduction of the euro will strengthen the Croatian economy, but also that Croatian Eurozone accession will strengthen the euro.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung dedicated two articles to Croatian Eurozone accession. One noted that both the European Central Bank and the European Commission have determined that Croatia meets the criteria for the introduction of the euro and that this will be decided by EU finance ministers, according to Deutsche Welle.

Commentary published in the economic part of the FAZ emphasised that the European Commission "knows how to adjust economic data to suit political wishes".

"Such a practice can be seen with the Croatian introduction of the euro on January the 1st, 2023, which is now being recommended by the European Commission. In doing this, it is acting quite arbitrarily with the convergence criteria of the Maastricht Treaty. That tready attests to all non-euro-states (except Romania, which is a special case) that they meet the criteria for state budget stability - with the strange argument that the stability pact has been repealed and that there's nothing they could violate.

In the Croatian case, the treaty also has no interest in the fact that their debt amounts to about 75 percent of GDP, significantly more than the 60 percent prescribed in the Maastricht Treaty. This ignorance has its role models: Italy and Belgium were admitted to the monetary union as founding countries back in 1998, despite their great indebtedness, because they somehow belonged to that circle,'' recalls Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The daily for economic issues, Handelsblatt, also emphasised that the ECB and the European Commission have determined that Croatia meets the criteria for the introduction of the euro and that it is set to become the 20th member of the Eurozone next year. It noted that ''all EU member states except Denmark have made a contractual commitment to one day introduce the single European currency, but governments can set the pace themselves. Sweden, for example, still has its own currency. In Eastern Europe, too, some governments are in no hurry to introduce the euro because they appreciate the benefits of an independent monetary policy,'' wrote Handelsblatt.

Numerous other German media (ARD, ZDF, Spiegel, Süddeutsche Zeitung,…) also reported on the green light of the ECB and the European Commission for Croatian Eurozone entry in 2023.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Croatian Eurozone Accession: Changes to Begin as Early as Next Summer

September the 23rd, 2021 - Croatian Eurozone accession might still seem like a far away event on the domestic political stage, but it is edging ever closer and things are set to start being quite significantly different as of next summer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, preparations for Croatian Eurozone accession have already started, and one of the measures is to ensure that prices don't increase significantly, which is something most people fear when asked what their worries surrounding the process of phasing out the Croatian kuna is.

Tihomir Mavricek pointed out that this will be among the very first things that will be tackled, and that the fixed exchange rate will be determined just before the decision of the EU Council on the introduction of the euro as Croatia's official currency.

"It will be around 7.53, but it will finally be determined in May or June next year and will become valid from January the 1st, 2023. Until December the 31st, 2022, the commercial exchange rate will be valid, it'll be as we have it now," he explained for HRT.

"There's no need to be afraid of price increases"

Many people are afraid of price increases as a result of Croatian Eurozone accession, but Mavricek has assured that the practice of countries that have already adopted the euro has shown that the replacement of the national currency has had very little effect on price growth, ie inflation.

"The countries that first adopted the euro had a small so-called harmonised growth of the consumer price index, which ranged between 0.09 and 0.28 percentage points. Countries that later adopted the euro had one which stood at around 0.3 - so we don't expect any significant impact on prices, maybe of some 0.37 percentage points, with the biggest impact coming from services and a slightly smaller number of commonly used products, such as pastries and newspapers,'' said Mavricek.

After the introduction of the euro in neighbouring Slovenia, prices in transport, restaurants and hairdressing/beauty salons increased, while in Slovakia the prices of food and construction works increased.

"Research has shown that these increases mostly regard products that don't affect people with lower incomes when compared to those with higher incomes, such as sectors like accommodation services, restaurants, and sports services - these are usually services used by people with higher incomes," explained Mavricek.

For more on Croatian Eurozone accession, check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 10 September 2021

Croatia, EU Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Start of Euro Coin Production

ZAGREB, 10 Sept 2021 - The European Commission and euro area Member States on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Croatia outlining the practical steps that will allow the country to begin producing euro coins when it receives the go ahead to join the euro area.

The memorandum, signed in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, regulates issues related to the necessary preparations ahead of and up to the actual minting of euro coins, including the acquisition and production of minting tools and coin test runs.

The MoU was signed by Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni, President of the Eurogroup Paschal Donohoe and Croatian National Bank Governor Boris Vujčić.

The HNB said in a statement that based on the document Croatia could launch preparations, that is, start making a detailed scenario for transition to the euro, start arrangements for the distribution of euro coins and the withdrawal of the Croatian kuna during the changeover, and the selection of its euro coin national side designs.

It can also start technical preparations for the common side of the euro coins, begin preparing mints for euro coin production and buying and making tools necessary to make coins as well as start with coin test runs and start making euro coins.

The Memorandum enables the continuation of preparations for the production of euro coins with the national side and marks an important step in our plan to make everything ready for the introduction of the euro in 2023, HNB Governor Vujčić was quoted by the HNB as saying, noting that Croatia remained committed to achieving that goal.

The EC, too, reported about the signing of the document, citing Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis as saying that the EC continued to support Croatia in its efforts to join the euro area, from which, he said, it stands to benefit greatly.

"However, before it can adopt Europe's single currency, Croatia must first meet all Maastricht criteria and continue to make progress on technical preparations," he said.

Commissioner Gentiloni welcomed Croatia's commitment to joining the euro area, stressing that it belonged there.

He said that the EC would continue supporting Croatia in its preparations and efforts to meet the convergence criteria.

Croatia is still not a member of the euro area but the kuna has been part of the exchange rate mechanism (ERM II) since 10 July 2020.

The signing of the MoU is one of the normal preparatory steps when a non-euro area Member State intends to join the euro area.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Zdravko Marić Reveals When Euro Will Become Croatia's Currency

The introduction of the euro as Croatia's official currency, thus replacing the Croatian kuna, has been the subject of much talk and heated debate. While some are completely for the move for practical reasons, others are sad to see the kuna go, seeing the introduction of the euro as a loss of Croatia's precious identity, which was so hard-won.

The debate about Croatia's imminent entry into the formerly highly problematic Eurozone continues to go on, with frightening memories of the Greek crisis still fresh in many a mind. Some are even demanding a referendum on the adoption of the euro, but the truth of the matter is that Croatia had to agree to adopt the euro eventually in order to join the European Union, of which it became a full member back in July 2013. Love it or hate it, it's happening - but when?

Croatia has officially sent its letter of intent to the appropriate bodies, as well as a list of promises to reform many key areas in the country's usually draconian national policies. The country's letter was met with a positive reaciton from the powers that be, and Croatia now has a mere twelve months to implement everything asked of it in order to enter the ERM II, a sort of pre-euro waiting room, in which it will remain for around two years.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of July, 2019, the aforementioned letter of intent that Croatia sent to Brussels regarding Croatia's planned introduction of the euro was assessed by Finance Minister Maric as one of the most important moments in Croatia's recent history. It is possible, as he himself says, that the euro will become Croatia's official currency at the beginning of 2024, as he said to RTL.

"It's difficult to say which year it will be, but I'd say that [the above mentioned date] is possible. We've taken over the obligations to fulfill some of the [prescribed] measures. We have to do this ourselves to boost economic growth. The year you've mentioned is realistic,'' the minister confirmed.

He also announced what many, especially those working in tourism, have been wanting - a lower VAT rate from January the 1st, 2020.

"We have pledged to continue reducing the parafiscal charges. One of the relief measures is the lowering of the VAT rate as of January the 1st, 2020. We're well on track to find space to give a new ''flywheel'' to employers to be able to pay their employees higher salaries. When it comes to what shape that will take and which way it will be done, we'll have to wait a few more weeks. When we do everything, I will first present it all to the President of the Government, the Croatian Government and the parliamentary majority, and then we will go public with it all,'' the minister stated.

The final decision when it comes to Croatia's entry into the Eurozone lies with the Eurozone's member states, and the European Central Bank.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more on the political scene in Croatia, as well as Croatia's pending Eurozone entry.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Zdravko Marić Discusses Shipbuilding, Taxes and Croatia's Eurozone Entry

In conversation with Dnevnik Nova TV, Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Marić revealed just how much taxpayers in Croatia had to pay out in guarantees for the country's ailing shipbuilding industry and the negative effects of the introduction of the euro as the country's official currency, a move which could happen in five years.

Will citizens and entrepreneurs feel economic growth? For example, will the non-taxable portion of salaries (take home pay) increase?

Entrepreneurs and citizens contribute the most to this economic growth. They create it on the one hand, and when it happens, as a result, we need to strive in the sense of measures, in order to raise the growth rates further.

To increase non-taxable parts of salaries?

It's still early to talk about the details. Salary growth has achieved positive effects. We should continue in that same direction. In terms of how much space there is [to move] on income tax, there's even more [space] in terms of the part of the non-taxable part itself. Remember the measure from December last year. More than 1.2 billion kuna was also paid by employers to their employees.

Is there any room to reduce excise duty on fuel?

You should also look at a comprehensive picture in the segment of indirect taxes. As a rule, there's always something that we have to take into special consideration because of the share of indirect taxes, Croatia is at the very top of the EU. But we should also take that into consideration in a broader context.

When you reduce fuel excise, you know for yourself that the price of everything drops.

Not as a rule always. To the last change in VAT, when we lowered taxes in our history, there's been no price reduction. But in the last couple of months, we've seen lower prices of fruit or meat, while fish and vegetables have even increased.

And in the hospitality industry by 13 percent?

This is the topic we'll also discuss.

Is the end of the issuing of shipbuilding guarantees?

This is unfortunately like in one of those ads when there's something extra at the end. I have to tell Croatian citizens that as of today, 4,420,000,000 kuna has been paid, and in the last couple of days the guarantees for the Jaružela ship, a great ship, have been protested, as well as two additional ones. Only 120.000.000 kuna is left. They're enormous sums of money. You can't be satisfied with the fact that we've paid for the construction of ships that haven't ever even been built as a finance minister or as a taxpayer.

What are the negative effects of the introduction of the euro?

Due to their very good knowledge and their history of experience with hyperinflation, devaluations before the introduction of the kuna, Croatian citizens say that in the first place, they're afraid of price increases. This needs to be taken seriously. It's a topic that doesn't happen overnight. There are several steps to take along that path. All measures must be taken to minimise any dangers and risks. And that all of the positive benefits manifest and come into effect as much as possible.

Make sure to follow our politics page for much more on the political scene in Croatia. 

Click here for the original article from Poslovni Dnevnik

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