Back in March, I booked a summer vacation to Europe, including a sailing trip in Croatia, which I've heard is absolutely beautiful. At the time, I had to put the trip on the backburner because it was so far off, and it's been sitting off on the horizon as an exciting but far-off thing.
Suddenly, I'm leaving in a few days and still have so much to sort out, how does that always happen right before vacations.
One of the dilemmas I'm facing involves the currency I should bring: in addition to Croatia, I'm also going to be in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. This puts me in the Euro area for one day (Slovakia), and I don't even spend a night there. I'm even flying from Toronto through London, with a stop for a few days, so I don't even need euros at that end.
Apparently I will be in Croatia in a time of transition: on July 1st (Canada Day!), Croatia joined the European Union after a multiyear effort, becoming the 28th member country. While this unfortunately for me does not involve an immediate switch to the Euro currency, it does bring on a number of changes in the country, including slightly modified border controls including visa requirements for Russians and Turks and customs duties on exports to non-EU Balkan countries.
According to the Economist articles linked above, there seem to be some mixed emotions in Croatia surrounding their ascension to the European Union. The government has had to push through unpopular reforms, such as on taxation. Yet, the claim is that this has made Croatia better prepared to join the EU compared to say Bulgaria or Romania, and EU membership will theoretically allow Croatia access to more funds, hopefully boosting its economy to better health.
For a country that was war-torn so recently, their entrance to the EU already is pretty impressive. Hopefully I can do my bit for the Croatian economy by buying some crazily overpriced but fun souvenirs.