The Balkan nation of Croatia, which officially became a member of the European Union (EU) in 2013, will be included in the Schengen Area from January 1, 2023.
But what does Croatia’s entry into Schengen mean for its citizens and neighbors?
First of all, it is necessary to explain what the Schengen area is. Schengen is an area that allows free movement of people and trade in goods and has no borders except in exceptional circumstances. People who live in the Schengen area can live, study and work in any EU country. Thanks to Schengen, it has become very easy to travel for both tourism and business purposes.
What are the pros and cons?
Entry of Croatia into the Schengen Area will have its pros and cons.
While the Schengen area previously started from the Slovenian border, it will start from the Croatian border from January 1. This naturally means that entry controls into Croatia will be further tightened. In a sense, Croatia will also assume the role of protector of the EU’s external borders.
After Croatia enters Schengen, many Croatian citizens will be able to settle and work in more developed EU countries in the hope of a better life. This will make it more difficult to work in Croatia, where there is already a huge loss of manpower. Croatia is expected to make up for this loss from other regional countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, which mostly speak the same language. Because, just as salaries in Western European countries are better than those in Croatia, salaries in Croatia are also better than those in other Balkan countries.
Air transportation will also be affected.
With Croatia’s entry into Schengen, there will be some changes in air transportation. Since flights from Croatia to other Schengen countries will now be considered domestically and Croatian citizens will only be able to travel with their ID cards.
There is no doubt that border controls will be intensified as Croatia assumes the role of protector of the EU’s external borders. For this reason, waiting times at borders are expected to be long and long queues for vehicles will occur.
The disappearance of the borders between Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia will make it easier for tourists from other EU member states to access the Adriatic Sea. Therefore, it is expected that more European tourists will come to Croatia, which is famous for its beaches and tourist and historical buildings, as of the summer of 2023. It is reported that tourists from Germany, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia and Italy in particular will choose the Adriatic Sea to spend their summer vacation.
Its entry into Schengen will undoubtedly bring many benefits to Croatia, but it is also believed that Croatia, which has a weak economy compared to other EU countries, may face particular difficulties in terms of the workforce.
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