Croatia News & Current Events

Updated January 10, 2023 | Infoplease Staff

News and Current Events

Get caught up with the most important historic and current events in Croatia.

Croatia Votes to Join European Union

In a Jan. 2012 referendum, voters supported joining the European Union (EU) by a two-to-one margin. despite a major debt crisis that had affected many EU members, 66% voted in favor of the membership. A majority of Croatian Parliament members and leading politicians supported the referendum as well. After the vote, President Ivo Josipovic said, "This is a big day for Croatia and 2013 will be a turning point in our history."

Croatia became a part of the EU on July 1, 2013, and holds 11 seats in the European Parliament. From January 1 to June 30, Croatia took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Election of First Female President

On Feb. 19, 2015, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovi took office as the fourth president of Croatia, becoming the country's first female president. Previously, she served as minister of foreign affairs and as Croatia's ambassador to the United States.

In the 2014-15 presidential election, Grabar-Kitarovi was the candidate of the conservative Croatian Democratic Union party. In the first round of elections held in Dec. 2014, Grabar-Kitarovi came in second out of four candidates. She received 37.2% of the vote. Incumbent Ivo Josipovi came in just ahead with 38.5%. Since neither received more than 50%, a run-off was held two weeks later. On Jan. 11, 2015, Grabar-Kitarovi won, taking 50.7% of the vote.

She was the first woman to serve as NATO's assistant secretary general for public diplomacy from 2011 to 2014. Her presidency ended on February 18, 2020, when she was defeated in a run-off election by Zoran Milanovi.

Croatia Joins Schengen Area

On January 1st, 2023, Croatia became the 27th country to join the Schengen Area which removes internal border controls between participating nations. The agreement includes the majority of the countries that are part of the European Union.

EU member states agreed to Croatia’s full membership of the Schengen Area on December 8, 2022, and had met all the necessary recommendations that included making improvements to external border controls.

The change also saw the Croatian Kuna (HRK) being replaced by the Euro (EUR) as the nation’s currency. The changeover happened after Croatia had met all the European Union recommendations, including improved external border controls.

See also Encyclopedia: Croatia.

U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Croatia

Central Bureau of Statistics