But above all, this is a day of joy and pride for the Croatian people. It is testimony of your amazing journey, your hard work and your determination. It is a day of celebration not only for Croatians, but for all European citizens. From now on, internal borders can be crossed freely, without controls, like here at Bregana. And all the other crossing points at land with Slovenia and Hungary, at sea with Italy, and as of March, by air with all other Schengen States. No more checks, no more passport control, no more queues, just people crossing smoothly, as we can see right behind us. Tourists visiting Croatia will no longer need a separate visa. They can visit with the same Schengen visa as they use to travel to all other Schengen countries. The next generation of Croatians will grow up in Schengen. People will be able to travel freely, business will be unhindered by checks. Seamless travel will bring tangible results for people living along the border, working across the border, or having family on both sides of the border. Communities will grow closer together. And your presence here today, Madam President, clearly shows how important this day is, not just for Croatia, but also for all its neighbours.
We will need to work very closely together to protect Schengen and preserve its benefits. Because indeed, Schengen cannot be taken for granted. Its functioning has been challenged over time and it continues to be challenged. Schengen is about commitment and mutual trust. In Schengen, we rely on one another. And we know that we can trust you and that we can rely on Croatia.
Being able to cross internal borders without controls is one important achievement; being able to pay across borders using the same EU currency is another. And I know by my own personal experience that Croatians will always remember the first time they paid with euros. The first time they held the euro coin minted with your national emblem, the kuna, as a symbol of the successful union between your national identity and your European destiny.
Today, you are joining a community of 347 million Europeans who are using the euro in their everyday lives. The euro makes us stronger at home. It facilitates investments and trade across borders, thus making our economy more vibrant. It helps to create jobs, it brings macroeconomic stability and credibility. And as the second most important currency globally, the euro also makes us stronger on the world stage. Indeed, the euro is one of our best collective achievements. And it is, of course, much more than a currency. It is a token of unity, beyond borders and beyond languages
Source: European Commission
The post Statement by President von der Leyen at the joint press conference with Prime Minister Plenković and President Pirc Musar on the occasion of Croatia joining the Eurozone and Schengen area appeared first on Vastuullisuusuutiset.fi.