Croatia and the euro

Process of Croatia adopting the euro
Eurozone participation
European Union (EU) member states
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Croatia will become the 20th member of the eurozone from 1 January 2023. A fixed conversion rate has been set at 1 € = 7.53450 kn.[1]

Croatia's currency, the kuna, has used the euro (and prior to that one of the euro's major predecessors, the German mark or Deutsche Mark) as its main reference since its creation in 1994, and a long-held policy of the Croatian National Bank has been to keep the kuna's exchange rate with the euro within a relatively stable range.

Croatia's EU membership obliged it to introduce the euro once it fulfilled the euro convergence criteria.[2] Prior to Croatian entry to the EU on 1 July 2013, Boris Vujčić, governor of the Croatian National Bank, stated that he would like the kuna to be replaced by the euro as soon as possible after accession.[3] This must be at least two years after Croatia joins the ERM II (in addition to it meeting other criteria). Croatia joined ERM II on 10 July 2020.[4] Prime Minister Andrej Plenković stated in November 2020 that Croatia intended to adopt the euro on 1 January 2023[5] and the Croatian government adopted an action plan for euro adoption later in December 2020.[6]

Many small businesses in Croatia had debts denominated in euros before EU accession.[7] Croatians already use the euro for most savings and many informal transactions. Real estate, motor vehicle and accommodation prices are mostly quoted in euros.

On 18 July 2022 the Croatian Mint began producing euro coins with Croatian national motifs.[8][9][10]

Public opinion

Public support for the euro in Croatia[11]

Convergence status

In its first assessment under the convergence criteria in May 2014, the country satisfied the inflation and interest rate criteria, but did not satisfy the public finances, ERM membership, and legislation compatibility criteria.[12] Subsequent convergence reports published in June 2016, May 2018, and June 2020 came to the same conclusions. The report published in June 2022 concluded Croatia fulfilled all the criteria for adopting the euro.[13]


Convergence criteria
Assessment month Country HICP inflation rate[14][nb 1] Excessive deficit procedure[15] Exchange rate Long-term interest rate[16][nb 2] Compatibility of legislation
Budget deficit to GDP[17] Debt-to-GDP ratio[18] ERM II member[19] Change in rate[20][21][nb 3]
2014 ECB Report[nb 4] Reference values Max. 1.7%[nb 5]
(as of 30 Apr 2014)
None open (as of 30 Apr 2014) Min. 2 years
(as of 30 Apr 2014)
Max. ±15%[nb 6]
(for 2013)
Max. 6.2%[nb 7]
(as of 30 Apr 2014)
Yes[22][23]
(as of 30 Apr 2014)
Max. 3.0%
(Fiscal year 2013)[24]
Max. 60%
(Fiscal year 2013)[24]
 Croatia 1.1% Open No -0.8% 4.8% No
4.9% 67.1%
2016 ECB Report[nb 8] Reference values Max. 0.7%[nb 9]
(as of 30 Apr 2016)
None open (as of 18 May 2016) Min. 2 years
(as of 18 May 2016)
Max. ±15%[nb 6]
(for 2015)
Max. 4.0%[nb 10]
(as of 30 Apr 2016)
Yes[25][26]
(as of 18 May 2016)
Max. 3.0%
(Fiscal year 2015)[27]
Max. 60%
(Fiscal year 2015)[27]
 Croatia -0.4% Open No 0.3% 3.7% No
3.2% 86.7%
2018 ECB Report[nb 11] Reference values Max. 1.9%[nb 12]
(as of 31 Mar 2018)
None open (as of 3 May 2018) Min. 2 years
(as of 3 May 2018)
Max. ±15%[nb 6]
(for 2017)
Max. 3.2%[nb 13]
(as of 31 Mar 2018)
Yes[28][29]
(as of 20 March 2018)
Max. 3.0%
(Fiscal year 2017)[30]
Max. 60%
(Fiscal year 2017)[30]
 Croatia 1.3% None No 0.9% 2.6% No
-0.8% (surplus) 78.0%
2020 ECB Report[nb 14] Reference values Max. 1.8%[nb 15]
(as of 31 Mar 2020)
None open (as of 7 May 2020) Min. 2 years
(as of 7 May 2020)
Max. ±15%[nb 6]
(for 2019)
Max. 2.9%[nb 16]
(as of 31 Mar 2020)
Yes[31][32]
(as of 24 March 2020)
Max. 3.0%
(Fiscal year 2019)[33]
Max. 60%
(Fiscal year 2019)[33]
 Croatia 0.9% None No 0.0% 0.9% No
-0.4% (surplus) 73.2%
2022 ECB Report[nb 17] Reference values Max. 4.9%[nb 18]
(as of April 2022)
None open (as of 25 May 2022) Min. 2 years
(as of 25 May 2022)
Max. ±15%[nb 6]
(for 2021)
Max. 2.6%[nb 18]
(as of April 2022)
Yes[34][35]
(as of 25 March 2022)
Max. 3.0%
(Fiscal year 2021)[34]
Max. 60%
(Fiscal year 2021)[34]
 Croatia 4.7% None 2 years 0.1% 0.8% Yes
2.9% 79.8% (exempt)
  Criterion fulfilled
  Criterion potentially fulfilled: If the budget deficit exceeds the 3% limit, but is "close" to this value (the European Commission has deemed 3.5% to be close by in the past),[36] then the criteria can still potentially be fulfilled if either the deficits in the previous two years are significantly declining towards the 3% limit, or if the excessive deficit is the result of exceptional circumstances which are temporary in nature (i.e. one-off expenditures triggered by a significant economic downturn, or by the implementation of economic reforms that are expected to deliver a significant positive impact on the government's future fiscal budgets). However, even if such "special circumstances" are found to exist, additional criteria must also be met to comply with the fiscal budget criterion.[37][38] Additionally, if the debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds 60% but is "sufficiently diminishing and approaching the reference value at a satisfactory pace" it can be deemed to be in compliance.[38]
  Criterion not fulfilled
Notes
  1. ^ The rate of increase of the 12-month average HICP over the prior 12-month average must be no more than 1.5% larger than the unweighted arithmetic average of the similar HICP inflation rates in the 3 EU member states with the lowest HICP inflation. If any of these 3 states have a HICP rate significantly below the similarly averaged HICP rate for the eurozone (which according to ECB practice means more than 2% below), and if this low HICP rate has been primarily caused by exceptional circumstances (i.e. severe wage cuts or a strong recession), then such a state is not included in the calculation of the reference value and is replaced by the EU state with the fourth lowest HICP rate.
  2. ^ The arithmetic average of the annual yield of 10-year government bonds as of the end of the past 12 months must be no more than 2.0% larger than the unweighted arithmetic average of the bond yields in the 3 EU member states with the lowest HICP inflation. If any of these states have bond yields which are significantly larger than the similarly averaged yield for the eurozone (which according to previous ECB reports means more than 2% above) and at the same time does not have complete funding access to financial markets (which is the case for as long as a government receives bailout funds), then such a state is not be included in the calculation of the reference value.
  3. ^ The change in the annual average exchange rate against the euro.
  4. ^ Reference values from the ECB convergence report of June 2014.[22]
  5. ^ Latvia, Portugal and Ireland were the reference states, with Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus excluded as outliers.[22]
  6. ^ a b c d e The maximum allowed change in rate is ± 2.25% for Denmark.
  7. ^ Latvia, Ireland and Portugal were the reference states.[22]
  8. ^ Reference values from the ECB convergence report of June 2016.[25]
  9. ^ Bulgaria, Slovenia and Spain were the reference states, with Cyprus and Romania excluded as outliers.[25]
  10. ^ Slovenia, Spain and Bulgaria were the reference states.[25]
  11. ^ Reference values from the ECB convergence report of May 2018.[28]
  12. ^ Cyprus, Ireland and Finland were the reference states.[28]
  13. ^ Cyprus, Ireland and Finland were the reference states.[28]
  14. ^ Reference values from the ECB convergence report of June 2020.[31]
  15. ^ Portugal, Cyprus, and Italy were the reference states.[31]
  16. ^ Portugal, Cyprus, and Italy were the reference states.[31]
  17. ^ Reference values from the Convergence Report of June 2022.[34]
  18. ^ a b France, Finland, and Greece were the reference states.[34]

Background

I always quote the Bob Dylan song 'When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose'. If you don’t have independent monetary policy what are you going to lose by entering into the monetary union?Boris Vujčić, Governor of the Croatian National Bank, makes an analogy about Croatia's long-held euro-focused monetary policy.[39]

Croatia's EU membership obliges it to join the eurozone once it fulfils the euro convergence criteria. Prior to Croatian entry to the EU on 1 July 2013, Boris Vujčić, governor of the Croatian National Bank, stated that he would like the kuna to be replaced by the euro as soon as possible after accession.[3] This must be at least two years after Croatia joins the ERM II (in addition to it meeting other criteria).

The Croatian National Bank had anticipated euro adoption within two or three years of EU entry.[40][41] However, the EU's response to the financial crises in eurozone delayed Croatia's adoption of the euro.[42] The country's own contracting economy also posed a challenge to its meeting of the convergence criteria.[43] While keen on euro adoption, one month before Croatia's EU entry governor Vujčić stated "...we have no date (to join the single currency) in mind at the moment".[3] The European Central Bank was expecting Croatia to be approved for ERM II membership in 2016 at the earliest, with euro adoption in 2019.[44][45]

In April 2015, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović stated in a Bloomberg interview that she was "confident that Croatia would introduce the euro by 2020", although the then-Prime Minister Zoran Milanović subsequently refused to commit to such timeline for the euro adoption[46]

In November 2017, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that Croatia is aiming to join ERM II by 2020 and to introduce the euro initially by 2025.[47] Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, stated in June 2019 that "Croatia is ready to join the ERM-2".[48]

A letter of intent of joining the ERM II mechanism was sent on 5 July 2019 to the ECB, signed by Minister of Finance Zdravko Marić, and the governor of the Croatian National Bank Boris Vujčić.[49][50] The letter marks the first formal step towards the adoption of the euro. Croatia committed to joining the Banking union of the European Union as part of its efforts to join ERM II. On 23 November 2019, European Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said that Croatia could join ERM II in the second half of 2020.[51]

Croatia joined ERM II on 10 July 2020.[52] The central rate of the kuna was set at 1 euro = 7.53450 kuna.[4] The earliest date for euro adoption, which requires two years of ERM participation, is 10 July 2022.

Target date: 1 January 2023

On 11 November 2020, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković stated that Croatia intended to adopt the euro on 1 January 2023.[53][54]

In June 2021, on the occasion of 30 years of independence, Prime Minister Plenković said the government's ambition is to join the eurozone on the target date.[55] In September, speaking at the 11th meeting of the National Council for the Introduction of the Euro as Croatia's official currency, Plenković said Croatia had the full support of the European Commission and the European Central Bank to join the euro area. He restated his confidence Croatia would be ready to enter the euro area from the start of 2023.[56] In September 2021, following the meeting of the Eurogroup in Slovenia, Croatia signed an official agreement (a Memorandum of Understanding) with the European Commission and eurozone member states on practical steps for the actual minting of Croatian euro coins.[57] On 7 December, Croatia and the European Commission signed a Partnership Agreement for the organization of information and communication campaigns, concerning the changeover from the kuna to the euro in Croatia.[58][59]

On 10 December 2021, Finance Minister Marić announced that the bill on introducing the euro currency in Croatia was being drafted and could be outlined in mid-January, with its final adaption expected in April 2022. The formal announcement of accession to the euro area is expected in mid-2022. He further stated, "As of 1 January 2023, we will change over to the euro overnight and then have another two weeks for both currencies in circulation and citizens will be able to continue to pay in kuna but after that payments will be in euro. The dual prices will remain for at least one year".[60]

On 14 December 2021, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković stated that he expected to have a final decision from the EU, on Croatia's accession to the Schengen and euro areas, in 2022.[61]

In January 2022, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has announced that from 5 September, prices will be displayed in both kunas and euros in the country, and through the whole of 2023. In 2023, everyone will be able to exchange kunas for euros free of charge in banks, in the Croatian Post offices, and in financial services and payment systems branches.[62]

On 13 May 2022, the Croatian Parliament voted in favour of the proposal to introduce the euro as legal tender.[63][64]

In May 2022, the European Commission completed an assessment of Croatia's progress.[65] The official decision for euro adoption is done by the EU's ECOFIN council and is expected to be as soon as July. Croatia joined ERM II on 10 July 2020, subsequently this decision must be at least two years after Croatia joined the ERM II.[66][67]

On 1 June 2022, the Commission assessed in its 2022 convergence report that Croatia fulfilled all the criteria for joining the euro area and proposed to the Council that Croatia adopt the euro on 1 January 2023.[13]

On 16 June 2022, the euro area member states recommended that Croatia become the 20th member.[68] Paschal Donohoe, President of the Eurogroup said:

I am very pleased to announce that the Eurogroup agreed today that Croatia fulfils all the necessary conditions to adopt the euro.

On 24 June 2022, the European Council supported the Commission's proposal for Croatia to adopt the euro. "It endorses the Commission's proposal that Croatia adopt the euro on January 1, 2023 and invites the EU's ECOFIN council to adopt swiftly the relevant Commission proposals," the Council added.[69]

On 5 July 2022, the European Parliament approved Croatia's entry in eurozone with 539 votes in favour, 45 against and 48 abstentions. Parliament supported the report of Siegfried Mureșan that Croatia has fulfilled all the criteria for adopting euro on 1 January 2023.[70]

On 12 July 2022, the Council of EU adopted the final three legal acts that were required for Croatia to adopt the euro as legal tender. Croatia will become the 20th member of the eurozone from 1 January 2023. A fixed exchange rate has been set at 1 € = 7.53450 kn.[71]

On 18 July 2022, the Croatian Mint began producing euro coins with Croatian national motifs.[8][9][10]

Since 5 September 2022, prices have to be displayed in both kunas and euros, in fact, the euro banknotes are already available in September. The euro coins will be available by credit and financial institutions during the month of October 2022, while citizens will be able to purchase them from 1 December 2022.[10][72]

Payments can be made in both currencies during the first two weeks of January 2023 and then only in euro. Kuna coins will continue to be exchanged by the Croatian National Bank for next three years following the change, while kuna notes will be accepted permanently.[73][10][72]

Croatian euro design

While the images of the reverse side of euro coins is common across coins issued by all countries, each country can chose identifying marks for euros it mints.

On 21 July 2021, Plenković stated that national identifying marks on the Croatian euro coins would be the Croatian checkerboard, the map of Croatia, a marten, Nikola Tesla and the Glagolitic script.[74][75]

On 4 February 2022, the Government of Croatia presented the designs for the national side of the future Croatian euro coins, which were chosen in an open contest by the Council of the Croatian National Bank. For the €2 coin, a design with the geographical map of Croatia by designer Ivan Šivak was chosen. The edge inscription uses lyrics from Ivan Gundulić's 1628 pastoral play Dubravka. For the €1 coin, a design with a marten (kuna in Croatian) standing on a branch, an animal after which the Croatian currency at the time was named, by designer Stjepan Pranjković was chosen. For the 10c, 20c and 50c coins, a design with Nikola Tesla, who was born in Smiljan (present-day Croatia, then-Austrian Empire), by designer Ivica Družak was chosen. Finally, for 1c, 2c and 5c coins, a design with ligature bound letters Ⱈ (H) and Ⱃ (R) in Glagolitic script by designer Maja Škripelj was chosen.[76] Each author received 70,000 kn (approx. €9,300) for their chosen design.

After suspicions arose online that the design of the €1 coin used an unlicensed image of a marten on a branch by the Scottish photographer Iain Leach, the designer of the €1 coin, Stjepan Pranjković withdrew his design on 7 February.[77] On 8 February, the Croatian National Bank announced they will hold a new competition for the design of the Croatian €1 coin with a marten motif.[78]

On 4 May 2022, at the 15th session of the National Council for the Introduction of the Euro the new 1 euro (€1) coin design was presented to the public.[79] The chosen design depicts a stylised marten on a chessboard background by artists Jagor Šunde, David Čemeljić and Fran Zekan. The new €1 design was approved by the Council of the EU on 20 April.[80]

Depiction of Croatian euro coinage | Obverse side
€0.01 €0.02 €0.05
Letters "HR" in Glagolitic script Letters "HR" in Glagolitic script Letters "HR" in Glagolitic script
Letters "HR" in Glagolitic script
€0.10 €0.20 €0.50
Silhouette portrait of Nikola Tesla Silhouette portrait of Nikola Tesla Silhouette portrait of Nikola Tesla
Silhouette portrait of Nikola Tesla
€1.00 €2.00 €2 Coin Edge
Silhouette design of a marten Silhouette map of Croatia 2 euro edge inscription Croatia.svgLyrics of the Hymn to freedom, part of Dubravka by Ivan Gundulić
Silhouette design of a marten Silhouette map of Croatia

Mints

2022: Croatian Mint[8][9][10]

Cost of the change from kuna to euro

The Croatian Ministry of Finance estimated the cost of the changeover from the kuna to the euro to be around 2 billion kuna.[81] Government analysis indicates that most of the cost would be on the loss of the conversion business by the banking system, which is expected to lead to a rise in other banking fees. There is a possibility of a general price increase for consumers, with a simultaneous general currency conversion risk for most debtors.[82]

See also

  • flagCroatia portal
  • iconMoney portal
  • Numismatics portal

Notes

  1. ^ The political status of Kosovo is disputed. Having unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo is formally recognised as an independent state by 100 UN member states (with another 13 states recognising it at some point but then withdrawing their recognition) and 93 states not recognizing it, while Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory.

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