Friday, 24 June 2022

Belonging to Euro Area Boosts Croatia's Resilience to Crises, says PM

ZAGREB, 24 June 2022 - Support for Croatia's eurozone membership bid is an excellent sign for its highly euroized economy and will also boost its resilience to crises, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday ahead of the start of the second day of the EU summit meeting.

One of the topics on the agenda of the two-day summit meeting is Croatia's entry into the euro area, and the leaders of the EU members states will support Croatia's accession, which is the penultimate step in the decision-making on receiving an aspirant in the euro area.

The last step is the adoption of three legislative proposals concerning Croatia's introduction of the euro, which will be made by the Council for Economy and Finance (EU Ecofin Council) on 12 July.

Thus, Croatia's changeover to the euro can start on 1 January 2023.

Today's summit meeting is very important for Croatia, which will become the 20th member of the euro area. This is a strategic goal of my cabinet, said Plenković while arriving at the summit meeting.

7 in 10 tourists in Croatia come from the euro area

Commenting on the highly euroized economy in Croatia, Plenković noted that 50-60% of loans and savings are tied to the euro, and 70% of travellers visiting Croatia are from the euro area, while two-thirds of the exchange is with the euro area.

The membership of the euro area will make Croatia better prepared to respond to crises such as energy and food crises or inflationary pressure, he said adding that the membership of the EU facilitated Croatia's efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Davor Filipovic Talks Inflation, Eurozone, Tenders and Measures

June the 9th, 2022 - Economy Minister Davor Filipovic was a recent guest on the 'A sada Vlada/and Now for the Government' radio show, where he discussed the situation with ongoing inflation and plans to try to mitigate the pressure on both people and the economy.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, new measures have come into force over the last few days, which should work to further stabilise the spiralling growth of fuel prices. Still, the question arises as to what can be expected in the weeks ahead, which Davor Filipovic touched on:

“We can know what will happen in the next two weeks. What will happen after that... I think, at least in these conditions of uncertainty, is impossible to predict. On Monday, we made decisions to reduce excise duties and trade margins. We've extended the period in which we calculate the prices of oil and oil derivatives, and this decree will remain force for the next thirty days,'' said the Minister, explaining the decisions recently made by the Croatian Government.

He added that it's yet to be seen what the situation will be on like on global oil markets, and that prices will be further formed accordingly.

"We went for a two-week interval to benefit our people and the economy. The price of fuel is now lower than it was for one entire week. If the prices of fuel on global markets do go down, then they'll go down in this country as well,'' Davor Filipovic pointed out, believing that, when all the circumstances are taken into account, people can be satisfied with what's been done so far.

"There will be no fuel shortages"

Speaking about the maneuver space of the Government, the Minister noted that there is space left in relation to excise duties, and that when it comes to petrol, it is about 36.37 lipa per litre at this moment in time.

"When we talk about diesel, then the space is a bit smaller, by about 16 or 17 lipa. In these extraordinary circumstances, all the options are on the table, we're analysing and monitoring what is happening on the market, so that we can respond adequately. We're going to do everything in our power to be shoulder to shoulder with people and with the economy," he said.

He also answered the question of whether there may be a shortage of fuel in Croatia:

“Our stocks are in accordance with the law, ninety days for oil and petroleum products. I dare say there will be no shortage. The reaction of distributors comes primarily because we've reduced the trade margin. For many years, they were delimited, and I'm of the opinion that in crisis situations, everyone must bear their part of the responsibility, including oil companies and distributors. Their reaction is such 'because we've cut their salaries' more than it being about a real danger of shortages,'' Davor Filipovic points out.

Asked whether additional aid packages will be provided for the most vulnerable among us, such as farmers and fishermen who are in a difficult situation due to the high price of blue diesel, the minister said:

"Since April the 1st, 2022, the Croatian Government has responded with a large package of measures amounting to five billion kuna. Were it not for the intervention of the Government, there would have been a larger increase in the price of electricity, and the same would've been true for gas. We're going to be monitoring the situation and making adequate and timely decisions, as we've done so far.''

"The plan is to double the capacity of LNG Terminal on Krk"

Minister Davor Filipovic also referred to the issue of Janaf and distribution, as well as the issue of LNG Terminal on the island of Krk.

"This new situation puts the Republic of Croatia in a position to become an energy hub and an important player when it comes to energy in this part of Europe. Janaf is in a situation where, with the existing capacities, we can satisfy, for example, all the needs of neighbouring Hungary. Janaf's capacity is 11.4 million tonnes, and Hungary needs 8.1 million.

Without any investment, we can supply oil to Hungary. With certain investments, Janaf can double those capacities. From that aspect, we're in a very good position. When we talk about the LNG Terminal on Krk, there is no European official, when I go to Brussels or somewhere else, who doesn't draw attention to the importance of it. It was a wise move by the government. The plan is to double the capacity of Krk's LNG Terminal to 6.1 billion cubic metres. In order to ensure the supply of Croatia, but also in order to be able to supply Slovenia. We're thinking about supplying gas to Bosnia and Herzegovina as well in the foreseeable future,'' he pointed out, adding that the whole situation makes Croatia a serious player on the new energy map of Europe.

A new package of sanctions against Russia is ready, and it regards a total ban on Russian oil imports. What is the situation here in Croatia?

"When it comes to oil, it's already being imported from other sources. Russian oil doesn't come to Croatia through Janaf. The focus is on the security of the energy supply in Croatia. Our underground gas storage will be replenished by November the 1st, 2022, to 90 percent capacity. HEP has been granted a state guarantee that it can take out a loan of 400 million euros, so that our hospitals and maternity hospitals can function smoothly,'' Filipovic assured.

Prices are rising day by day, and if this inflationary pressure continues, it will be harder and harder for the average person to get by.

"Inflation isn't only a problem being faced by Croatia but by the whole world. Prices are going up and everything should be done to mitigate these inflationary shocks on the economy,'' he pointed out, adding that they are looking for a way to help. He noted that it's true that the whole situation is slowing down growth projections, but that none of the world's experts believe that there will be a global recession.

"There will be cases where some countries will find themselves in such a situation, but not the global economy as a whole," he said.

Croatia's 2023 accession to the Eurozone will be extremely helpful

"Entry will make it easier for the country in any case, especially when it comes to crisis situations. There are going to be many advantages at our disposal when we enter the Eurozone. Currency risks will disappear, and conversion costs will also become a thing of the past. Numerous exporters welcome the decision, and tourists will benefit more. There will also be an increase in the country's credit rating, as announced by certain agencies,'' claimed Davor Filipovic, adding that the costs of introducing the euro in Croatia are minimal when compared to the longterm benefits.

"Very soon, we'll have a tender of two billion kuna, which will be aimed at micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In order to use the money to increase competitiveness, to digitise processes, to use everything that can be used in the direction of the green transition," he said.

As for cutting parafiscal levies, Minister Davor Filipovic says they have already begun the process.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 6 June 2022

FinMin: Everything Should Be Done So Euro Doesn't Trigger Price Hike

ZAGREB, 6 June 2022 - Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Monday that everything will be done so that the introduction of the euro as legal tender does not trigger a price hike.

"We will do absolutely everything, regardless of inflationary pressure and our efforts to relieve it, to prevent euro introduction from becoming an additional trigger (of price hikes) for individual market stakeholders," Marić said, adding that this was why the dual display of prices would start on 5 September.

Addressing the conference "Croatia in a New Economic Environment", organized by the 24sata daily, Marić recalled that the law on the introduction of the euro foresees 12 institutions that are responsible for the implementation of the law, including the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA), State Inspectorate, Croatian National Bank and the Finance Ministry.

These institutions will monitor the situation closely, and civil society organizations will join in the process as well so that any unfair conduct is reduced to a minimum, said Marić.

Marić recalled the recent European Commission Convergence Report, which said that Croatia was the only candidate country that had fulfilled all the accession criteria and was prepared to introduce the euro on 1 January 2023.

If Croatia joins the euro area on that date it will have spent the least time in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) of all member states, added Marić.

He said the final decision on Croatia's accession to the euro area will be adopted by the Council of Finance Ministers in Brussels on 12 July.

"If everything goes as we expect... and Croatia's entry to the euro area is formally announced for 1 January next year, the rate of conversion will be defined," he said but could not say whether the exchange rate would be the same as when Croatia entered the ERM II.

He underscored, however, that in the majority of cases it stayed the same, and if there were to be any change that will not be significant.

In July 2020, when Croatia joined the ERMII, the exchange rate was €1 = 7.53450.

Marić added that joining the Schengen area of passport-free movement was also very important for Croatia.

Croatia meets all the criteria to join the Schengen area, however, its admission depends on a number of other factors, including the political will of the member states, he said.

"Croatia has proven that it knows how to protect EU borders," he said, expressing the belief that the country would achieve the goal of Schengen area membership as well.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Is a Crisis the Best Time for Croatian Eurozone Membership?

June the 5th, 2022 - What with the war still raging in Ukraine following Russian invasion earlier this year, and the negative economic consequences left by the global coronavirus pandemic still very much in evidence, is a crisis really the best time for Croatian Eurozone membership? Here's what the Croatian National Bank's governor Boris Vujcic and the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic have to say on the topic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, the recent assessment that Croatia is ready to introduce the euro as its currency is the achievement of one of the two strategic goals of the current government, said Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

He pointed out that the Convergence Report underlined Croatia as the only remaining member state outside of the Eurozone now ready for the euro, and that it was especially important that it met the criterion of stable prices.

"Croatia no longer has macroeconomic balances, and the fact that in the whole package of our efforts, from responsible public finance management, our exit from the excessive budget deficit procedure, raising the rating to the investment level, the fact that we implemented all reforms that were on the table after entering the exchange rate mechanism and banking union in time, in accordance with the action plan, says that Croatia has achieved one of the fundamental political goals in the mandates of our two governments through the implementation of the strategy for the introduction of the euro,'' said Plenkovic, making no effort to hide his satisfaction at the recent press conference at Banski dvori, accompanied by Minister Zdravko Maric and Davor Filipovic.

Focusing on meeting the Maastricht criteria, he didn't say a word about the EC's far less flattering assessment that there has been no progress made in terms of economic convergence and in regard to substantial reforms.

Just a few hundred metres away, the Governor of the CNB (who together with Plenkovic presented the Strategy for the Introduction of the Euro in October 2017) addressed the press separately, accompanied by EC Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis.

He reiterated that the benefit of Croatian Eurozone membership means strengthening resilience to all sorts of crises and external shocks, of which there have been many recently, while bringing multiple benefits to both people and the economy.

"It's much better to be in the Eurozone at the moment than it is to be outside it," said Boris Vujcic, noting that back in October 2020, the CNB entered into close cooperation with the ECB, which means that Croatia has very much already entered the banking union, adding that the CNB is waiting for the final step of integration into the Eurozone, set to take place on the first day of 2023.

When asked by reporters whether a time of ongoing crisis was really the best time for Croatian Eurozone membership, Boris Vujcic said it would have been better if we had done it earlier.

"The sooner Croatia's entry into the Eurozone, the better, this is the best moment we have at our disposal now and I think it's proof that we already had the support of the ECB at the beginning of the pandemic crisis, which wouldn't have been possible if we weren't very close in terms of the exchange rate mechanism. That helped us overcome the coronavirus crisis more easily,'' he said. A concrete advantage for Croatia, he illustrated, is that interest rates have remained unchanged, unlike across most non-Eurozone member states, where they have risen and risen.

Valdis Dombrovskis congratulated Croatia on its "historic achievement", saying all criteria had now been completely met.

"Joining the Eurozone is especially important because the whole world is in a crisis caused by the war, and that's why it's important to be part of the Eurozone, which uses the second strongest currency in the world. This will help Croatia in many financial aspects, including regarding lower interest rates,'' Dombrovskis said.

The EU Council is expected to make its final decisions on Croatian Eurozone membership in the first half of July this year, with prices set to be shown in both kuna and euros starting on the 5th of September. Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said that Croatia still has a lot of work to do, which includes the adequate (pre) supply of cash to banks, Fina and the Croatian Post (Hrvatska posta), as well as the indirect pre-supply to companies so that everyone is ready to realise all transactions in euros as of the 1st of January, 2023.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Employers to Be No Longer Required to Garnish Wages Upon Euro Adoption

ZAGREB, 4 June 2022 - The planned changeover to the euro in 2023 obliges Croatia to amend a set of laws, including the legislation regulating the enforced collection of delinquent debts, the Jutarnji List (JL) daily reported on Saturday.

Apart from changing all the laws that cite the kuna, some other laws will have to be amended, the daily newspaper says, adding that the change would further reinforce the protection of consumers against invalid contracts.

Currently, apart from the Financial Agency (FINA), the Croatian Pension Insurance Fund (HZMO) and employers are also authorized to garnish pensions and wages respectively to withhold the earnings of an individual for the payment of his or her debt in accordance with out-of-court settlements.

The employers complain about this obligation as an additional administrative burden.

Furthermore, employers are often at a loss on how to deduct money from an employee's monetary compensation so as to withhold a part of the salary subject to the enforced collection.

Therefore, the justice ministry plans to introduce a single system for the enforced collection when it comes to the wage and pension garnishment, and that only FINA should be authorized to collect delinquent debts from the income of debtors.

For more, check out our business section.

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, 2 June 2022

One Of Two Strategic Goals Achieved By Meeting Euro Criteria, PM Says

ZAGREB, 2 June 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday Croatia was one of the EU member states outside the euro area which had met all the criteria for membership in the European economic and monetary union, whereby one of the government's strategic goals has been achieved.

Speaking after a meeting with the European Commission Executive Vice President for An Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis, Plenković said Croatian officials had the opportunity to hear the Commission's assessments on its convergence report on Croatia and the other countries still outside the euro area.

"Such a positive report on Croatia is very good, given that by all criteria, which are equal for all, we are the only country meeting the criteria for membership in the European economic and monetary union," he told the press.

The Commission presented the report yesterday, confirming that Croatia is one of the observed member states meeting all nominal convergence criteria and that its legislation is fully aligned with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as well as the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The Commission, therefore, concluded that Croatia is prepared to introduce the euro on 1 January 2023, becoming the 20th euro area member state.

"It's particularly important that Croatia meets the price stability criterion. You have seen that over 12 months up to April this year the average inflation was 4.7%, and the reference value was 4.9%, so we were within that criterion," Plenković said.

It is also very important that Croatia has received confirmation from the ECB that it is below the Maastricht budget deficit criterion of 3% of GDP.

"Croatia no longer has macroeconomic imbalances and in this whole set of our efforts, from responsibly managing public finance, coming out of the excessive deficit procedure, raising the credit rating to investment level, the fact that we carried out all the reforms that were on the table after entering the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and the banking union on time, in line with the action plan, shows that by implementing the euro introduction strategy, Croatia has achieved one of the fundamental political goals during the terms of our two governments," Plenković said.

The other goal is entering the Schengen Area, he added.

For more, check out our politics section.

 

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

EC: Croatia Ready to Adopt the Euro

ZAGREB, 1 June 2022 - The European Commission on Wednesday concluded that Croatia was ready to adopt the euro on 1 January 2023, bringing the number of euro area Member States to twenty.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who congratulated Croatia, was quoted as saying: "Today, Croatia has made a significant step towards adopting the euro, our common currency."

"Less than a decade after joining the EU, Croatia is now ready to join the euro area on 1 January. This will make Croatia's economy stronger, bringing benefits to its citizens, businesses and society at large. Croatia's adoption of the euro will also make the euro stronger," she said.

 The EC and the European Central Bank on Wednesday released reports on convergence assessing the progress of member-states in meeting the criteria for the admission to the euro area.

The report covers seven countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden. Denmark has the permanent exemption from the obligation to adopt the euro.

The EC and the ECB prepare complementary biannual reports on convergence. The reports serve as a basis for the Council's decisions on whether the aspirants meet conditions for entering the euro area.

Croatia's adoption of the euro

"In light of the Commission's assessment, and taking into account the additional factors relevant for economic integration and convergence, including balance of payments developments and integration of product, labour and financial markets, the Commission considers that Croatia fulfils the conditions for the adoption of the euro. It has therefore also adopted proposals for a Council Decision and a Council Regulation on euro introduction in Croatia."

The Council is expected to make the final decisions on Croatia's euro adoption in the first half of July, after discussions in the Eurogroup and in the European Council, and after the European Parliament and the ECB have given their opinions, reads the EC's press release.

"The Report, therefore, marks a crucial and historic step on Croatia's journey towards adopting the euro."

The Croatian kuna joined ERM II on 10 July 2020 and observes a central rate of 7.53450 to the euro with a standard fluctuation band of ±15%. This is expected to be the exchange rate for the conversion.

Croatia has participated in the ERM II since 10 July 2020. It must participate in the mechanism without severe tensions and without devaluing its central rate against the euro for at least two years before it can qualify to adopt the euro. Being part of the Exchange Rate Mechanism is intended to help non euro-area countries prepare themselves for becoming part of the euro area. It is an important milestone towards adopting the euro.

The latest report reads that Croatia meets all the four convergence criteria and Croatia's legislation is fully compatible with EMU legislation.

The average inflation rate in Croatia in the year ending in April 2022 stood at 4.7 per cent, which is below the reference value, and it is likely to remain below the reference value in the months ahead.

Concerning public finances, Croatia meets the criterion of the deficit to GDP ratio which was 2.9% in 2021, below the reference value of three percent.

The public debt to GDP ration is above the reference value, however, last year it saw a strong decrease falling from 87.3% in 2020 to 79.8%, and this marked narrowing satisfied this criterion.

For more, check out our business section.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Less Than 1/3 of Citizens Think Croatia Ready to Introduce Euro, Survey Shows

ZAGREB, 25 May 2022 - Less than one third of citizens think Croatia is ready to introduce the euro on 1 January 2023 and a big majority, fears the introduction will lead to tacit price rises, according to the findings of a survey presented on Wednesday.

The survey was initiated by MEP Biljana Borzan and conducted by the Hendal agency in March and April, covering 805 respondents.

The findings show that 29.9% agree with the claim that Croatia is not ready to introduce the euro on 1 January 2023, while 45.5% do not agree and 24.7% neither agree nor disagree.

Also, 86.2% of respondents believe the introduction will be used to tacitly raise prices.

Borzan said the aim of the survey was not to create additional panic but to reassure citizens and give them clear data on why introducing the euro was good, and also to make the government eliminate the fears so that citizens would accept the euro without any problems.

She said that in Slovenia the gross pay went up by 46% and prices by 26% since the euro was introduced, and in Latvia by 67% and 10%, respectively.

Borzan said a minimum short-term rise in prices was a fact but that the long-term benefit was "very visible" for citizens and that she was sure it would happen in Croatia, too, "because entering the eurozone actually means economic profit."

She said Croatia's law on introducing the euro banned businesses from raising prices without justification but did not envisage sanctions.

The survey shows that 83.2% of respondents feel that businesses which convert prices unfairly should be publicly blacklisted.

Borzan said the government rejected such a proposal and that this was part of the problem. "The other is the non-inclusion of consumer associations and citizens so that we know what awaits us."

Furthermore, 83.8% of respondents feel the government's measures against price rises will be useless without good inspections, and over 50% feel that market inspectors are not doing a good job nor protecting citizens from higher prices.

Also, 81.4% of respondents feel that consumers in Croatia are insufficiently protected.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Croatia Could Get Positive Assessment on Euro Introduction on 1 June

ZAGREB, 23 May 2022 - The European Commission plans to issue a convergence report on 1 June which could give Croatia a final assessment on its readiness to adopt the euro.

European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on Monday confirmed that the Commission plans to release its convergence report on 1 June.

"In Croatia debt ratios have declined significantly over the years and show a strong downward trend. This sends an important signal ahead of the convergence report that we will present on 1 June. As you know, Croatia aims to adopt the euro as its currency on January 1, 2023," Dombovskis told a press conference.

In its analysis of the macroeconomic situation in Croatia, the Commission notes that the country has made progress in reducing private debt and net external liabilities. It underscores that public debt remains high but continues its downward trend towards the situation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The banking system remains stable and liquid and the share of bad loans is decreasing. The potential for production growth has increased and funds under the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism can help deal with other vulnerabilities, the Commission says.

The Commission publishes its convergence report every two years. According to the last report in June 2020, Croatia had fulfilled all the criteria to enter the euro area except for membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II).

Croatia soon met that criterion too, when it entered the ERM II on 10 July 2020.

The readiness to introduce the euro is determined according to convergence criteria, including price stability, regulated public finances, exchange rate stability, and convergence of long-term interest rates. National legislation is checked against the rules of the Economic Monetary Union (EMU).

Currently, the inflation rate is the only uncertain criterion at the moment. It must not exceed by more than 1.5 percentage points the average inflation rate of the three EU countries with the lowest annual inflation in the year preceding the assessment of the situation in the candidate country.

If Croatia gets a positive assessment, the finance ministers of the 19 euro area countries need to adopt the Commission's recommendation with a qualified majority.

The formal decision is delivered by Ecofin, comprising all EU finance ministers, after consultations with the European Parliament and following the June summit of EU leaders.

For more, check out our politics section.

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