Last month Croatians voted in a referendum on EU membership by nearly two-to-one in favour of joining the EU (though voter turnout was under 50%).
Accession is scheduled for July 1, 2013, right in the middle of the country’s peak tourist season. So how will this affect people travelling to the country?
No significant changes, to begin with
Following on from the experiences of countries such as the Czech Republic and Poland, and other more recent EU members such as Romania and Bulgaria, to start with there will be very little outward changes. Because Croatia won’t be joining either the Euro or the Schengen area until at least 2015, according to the country’s leaders, there will still be border checks and you will still use Croatian Kunas to pay for things. There will probably be a slightly higher level of price inflation in the tourist industry than normal as prices drift towards European averages (so go now to make the most of pre-EU Croatia!)
Most of the changes in the first stage of membership are the alignment of laws, standards and regulations, so health & safety standards, hygiene laws and other day-to-day things are uniform across the whole EU.
If/when Croatia joins the Euro it will make travellers lives a little easier. Schengen membership will also make crossing the border between Croatia and Slovenia much quicker, with no passport checks, as it is between Italy and Slovenia now.
Image credit: Croatian and EU flags on the Croatian Parliament Building, by Martin Deutsch, via Creative Commons on Flickr.