On 1 January, Croatia became the 20th EU Member State to adopt the euro as currency; with its economy becoming more stable for investors and showing that in challenging times, working more closely together as a Union has tangible benefits. How does Ivan Gulam, Mayor of Pirovac, see this change?
Find out in this interview with the Renew Europe Group in the Committee of the Regions.
How do you see Croatia’s change to the euro?
As of 1 January, Croatia replaced its kuna with the euro, becoming the 20th member in the eurozone. For our citizens and economy, the euro makes it easier, cheaper and safer for businesses to buy and sell within the euro area and to trade with the rest of the world. The introduction of the euro will improve our economic stability and growth. We will be better integrated, and therefore more efficient on financial markets, with greater influence in the global economy. For a country like Croatia, the introduction of the euro along with joining the Schengen zone is certainly a very positive thing, especially in the long term.
How will the adoption of the euro impact your city and its economy?
For our municipality of Pirovac, the adoption of the euro is very important because tourism is our main source of income and creates many jobs and opportunities for investment. Due to increased tourism and available EU funds, our local budget is increasing year by year. Positive effects will be particularly reflected in tourism due to the size of the sector and the high share of tourist demand in EU Member States. Visitors from countries that have the euro as their currency generate almost 70% of Croatia’s total tourism revenue. We expect that joining the eurozone and Schengen area will also increase the demand for real estate in our municipality, and increase investments especially in the tourism sector and expenditure of our tourists.
With the change to the euro, Croatia has been confronted with price hikes. What can be done against them, and how do they affect the local level?
Locally, we haven’t increased any taxes or prices of our services provided by municipally-owned companies. The power to control prices is almost completely in the hands of Croatia’s government and efforts are being made in the first weeks of January to ensure that prices don’t go up for citizens. Nevertheless, there are some negative examples of traders who are raising their prices for no good reason. I’m sure citizens will reply to those one-sided actions of some traders by changing their habits and starting to buy elsewhere where the conversion of kuna to euro was done fairly.
In general, I’m sure that Croatian citizens will fully adapt to euro in the coming months and that we will continue to build our Union in the coming years.