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The Kuna is being replaced by the Euro. What does this mean for Croatians?



A seelction of Kuna notes next to an open wallet
Croatians have until January 1, 2023 to continue using their Kunas before Euro becomes the official currency

Croatia first requested to join the European Union in 2003 but they weren’t accepted into the intergovernmental organization until ten years later, in 2013. And ten years after that, they will be adopting the euro and transitioning away from their current currency, the Kuna. The currency is set to be exchanged at a fixed rate of 7.53450 HKR to 1 EUR. It will officially be changed on January 1, 2023, and Croatians have until then to continue using their kunas before it becomes necessary to make the exchange.

This transition to the euro is both a practical and symbolistic move for the Croatian people and government as it shifts focus away from their communist past and dark history towards a brighter and hopefully prosperous future. It wasn’t an easy change to make, as a country must meet a list of requirements before being accepted as a eurozone member. A eurozone member is a country that adopts the euro as its primary currency while implementing and abiding by the Monetary and Economic Union of the EU. Croatia needed to achieve lower inflation levels, a stable exchange rate, and strong public finances, among other things, before they could even be considered to join the eurozone.

Fortunately, the country has dramatically improved economically over the past few years and has managed to meet many of the necessary guidelines. As a result, they’ve been accepted as the 20th member of the eurozone and will be fully integrated into the group by January next year.

The hope for this change is that it will have positive effects on the Croatian people, and they will be able to benefit from more robust financial security and an improved standard of living. Additionally, it will help the country to build deeper connections with larger financial institutions and governments, leading to a stronger economy for Croatians. In turn, Croatia hopes to see its goods and services become more competitive within Europe, which will help tackle the job scarcity in many of its cities.

From a political standpoint, adopting the euro is an ambitious move for the Croatian government, as it will lead to a seat at a higher table and allow Croatian politicians to have more say in the decisions being made by the EU. Although Croatia is a smaller and poorer country compared to many of the other members of the eurozone, hopefully this move furthers the countries’ relationships within the EU. It will make Croatia more accessible to other eurozone citizens that want to visit their beautiful beaches and won’t need to go through the hassle of exchanging currency.

What are your thoughts on Croatia’s acceptance into the eurozone? Do you think it is a good move towards bettering their economy, or might they face some complex challenges in the coming months?

I am a Canadian copywriter and marketing consultant that seeks to help business owners and entrepreneurs attain their goals and reach their targeted communities. I am also an avid traveler and book enthusiast.


Disneyland Paris renames theme park in $2 billion revamp



Facade os Disney Paris with Disney's characters standing in front of it
The transformation of Walt Disney Studios Park will see it almost double in size.

Disneyland Paris has unveiled a new name for Walt Disney Studios Park as part of the park’s US$2 billion transformation.

Walt Disney Studios Park will become Disney Adventure World when the new immersive area, World of Frozen, opens.

The transformation of Walt Disney Studios Park will see it almost double in size.

“We’re changing the story of Walt Disney Studios Park, evolving from ‘how it’s done’ soundstages to celebratory theatres and adventures that come to life in immersive worlds,” said Tom Fitzgerald, chief storytelling executive at Walt Disney Imagineering and senior creative executive for Disneyland Paris.

“These fully realised adventure worlds will become the focus of the park’s new identity and appear as realms that guests discover as they navigate deeper within the park and are invited to participate in adventures inspired by our most beloved stories.”

As part of the rebrand, the park’s entrance is also being reimagined, with the current design replaced with ‘crafted décor that pays homage to historic movie theaters in Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole.’

“Embracing a transformation that involves the overhaul of more than 90 percent of Walt Disney Studios Park since its debut in 2002, we’re unveiling a fresh creative vision that has completely redefined our second gate,” said Natacha Rafalski, president of Disneyland Paris.

Previous investments in the property include World of Pixar, which opened at the park in 2021 and Avengers Campus (2022).

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EU economy forecast to grow 1.0% in 2024



A woman paying for services at a beauty shop
Expected economy growth is largely due to consumers spending more this year | Photo: Christiann Koepke

The Commission has published this week a new forecast for the European Union economy, with a more upbeat scenario for consumers. After a downturn in economic activity in 2023, inflation rates will continue to drop and the EU economy should gradually grow in 2024. This is largely driven by ‘consumers spending more, thanks to higher wages and more job opportunities,’ it is believed. 

Concretely, the EU economy should grow 1.0% in 2024. The euro area economy should reach 0.8% of growth. In 2025, GDP will grow even more. Meantime, EU inflation has fallen dramatically since it peaked in 2022. It is expected to wind down to 2.7% in 2024 and to 2.2% in 2025.  

The jobs market is also performing well. Despite the slowdown in activity, the EU economy created more than 2 million jobs in 2023. Activity and employment rates of people aged 20-64 hit new record highs in the last quarter of the year. In March 2024, the unemployment rate in the EU stood at a record low of 6.0%. 

Some challenges remain. For instance, investment growth is slowing since fewer new homes are being built, which affects various industries. As a result, it is expected that interest rates will drop more slowly than anticipated. 

The Commission publishes four economic forecasts throughout a given year, covering GDP and inflation data for all Member States, the EU and the euro area. 

In the UK the scenario is also looking positive, with the Office for National Statistics having recently confirmed that the UK unemployment rate for January to March 2024 (4.3%) is above estimates of a year ago (January to March 2023), and increased in the latest quarter. 

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Mango to strengthens its presence in the UK with 20 store openings



Mango store facade at Oxford street, London
At the close of the 2023 financial year, Mango had 60 stores in the UK

Mango, one of Europe’s leading fashion groups, continues its expansion and brand consolidation plan in the UK with more than 20 store openings planned for 2024. Growth is focused on expanding its presence in London and Scotland, as well as the arrival for the first time in several cities in Northern Ireland and central and southern England.

“The UK is one of the priority markets for Mango’s international growth. The increased presence in London and our arrival this year in some cities where we have not been present until now will consolidate the Mango brand and help us to strengthen it internationally,” says Daniel López, Mango’s Director of Expansion and Franchising.

The company plans four store openings in London this year, in addition to last February’s opening of a store in the Windsor Yards shopping centre in the heart of historic Windsor, close to Windsor Castle

Mango will also increase its presence in Scotland with store openings in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and for the first time will reach cities in Northern Ireland, as well as central and southern England. 

The new Mango store will incorporate the New Med Mediterranean-inspired store concept, reflecting the spirit and freshness of the brand. Sustainability and architectural integration are the key to this new design that conceives the Mango store as a Mediterranean home with different spaces in which warm tones and neutral colours predominate, combined with traditional, handcrafted, sustainable and natural materials such as ceramics, tuff, wood, marble, esparto grass and leather.

Mango has been present in the UK since 1999. In 2021, the company strengthened its presence in the country with the opening of a new flagship store on Oxford Street in London and three other stores in Manchester, Edinburgh and Derby. 

Last year, Mango opened more than 10 stores, mainly in the south and centre of the country, in major cities such as Bristol, London, Manchester and Leeds. Key among them was the store opening in Westfield Stratford City, one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. In addition, the company arrived for the first time in Brighton with a 470 m2 store in the Churchill Square shopping centre.

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