Euro area grows to 20 members as Croatia joins

EU finance ministers today gave the final nod of approval for Croatian membership of the euro area, enabling it to adopt the single currency from January 2023 on.

“The fact that Croatia will become 20th member of European Monetary Union area is also a clear signal that European integration is ongoing despite all the challenges that we are facing,” said Zdravko Marić, the outgoing Croatian finance minister.

Today’s formalities complete the years-long accession procedure, which requires countries to comply with a number of criteria such as price, exchange rate and interest rate stability, as well as budgetary discipline and a ban on monetary financing.

Croatia will also gain a seat at the table of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council — as an observer from September on, and as a fully fledged member in January.

“It’s a wonderful club to be a member of, but it requires commitment, dedication and continued respect of the rules, and we know we can expect no less from Croatia,” said ECB President Christine Lagarde.