Monday, July 01, 2013

EU Welcomes Croatia

Today Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union (,) and the first country to join since the accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.

The other countries of the former Yugoslavia which are not members (all except Slovenia, which is already a member) are in the process of applying for membership, as are Iceland and Turkey.

We've all read the stories about severe economic problems in parts of the EU. However, the fact that so many countries still want to join certainly speaks to a considerable amount of success for the union, as does the fact that the euro is still trading well above the U.S. dollar.

Croatia is a small country which includes some of the most beautiful sights in Eastern Europe--the Austro-Hungarian influenced capital of Zagreb, the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik, and many picturesque islands in the Adriatic. Like many other parts of the former Yugoslavia it suffered greatly during the recent Balkan wars.

Not everyone in Europe or abroad supports the EU, but I believe it has been a remarkable story of achievement. It grew out of the European Coal and Steel Commission, set up after World War II to try to ensure that "never again" would a war of that scope occur in Europe. So far, fighting among European countries in the postwar world has been confined to those outside the EU.

For travellers, not much will change in Croatia right away, since the country is still using its own currency, the kuna, worth about 17 and a half cents U.S.

Happy Canada Day, and congratulations to Croatia.


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