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  • By The Financial District

Croatia Joins EU Schengen Zone, Adopts Euro

Croatia rang in two historic changes with the new year, as the European Union's youngest member joined both the EU's border-free Schengen zone and the euro common currency, fulfilling longstanding ambitions of close integration with Europe, Antonio Bronic reported for Reuters.

Photo Insert: Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is joined by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as he pays using euros to celebrate the milestones.

At the Bregana border crossing with neighboring Slovenia, police took down signs at midnight and a barrier was lifted up for the last time, before a placard reading "free passage" was installed, symbolizing the end of border checks.

"If there are historical moments, special moments which should provide us with great honor and when we witness the achievement of strategic goals of a state -- this is such a day," Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at a ceremony at the border later on Sunday.

He was joined by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who hailed it as a day to celebrate.

“Today Croatia joins the Schengen Area and the eurozone, two immense achievements for the youngest member state of the European Union and both reached on the very same day. So indeed, this is a day for the history books."

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