January 11, 2023 -Durt Fibo


The process finalized in December and initiated on the first day of this year, Croatia was accepted into the EU’s Schengen- and Eurozone, and officially replaced its native currency -the kuna- with euros. Just as with Italy’s turn-of-the-century overnight conversion to euros, no government mechanism had been built to control the transition, and the result was that the ‘free market’ was suddenly far less free.

In a mere 11 days, Croatia has been ravaged by price hikes on staples -literally including bread and butter- of up to 30%. Thus far. More accurately, Croatians did this to themselves, exactly as did the Italians; merchants, gastromomers, and essential service providers all decided the conversion would be easiest on their brains and wallets to simply ’round up’ the existing national denomination without the strain of basic arithmetic.

Citizens had already been in the streets protesting longtime senseless inflation back in September, and this brief 11-day period has enraged them to the point of social eruption. The economy as a whole had been on a suicidal course since, after the euphoria of nationalist separation from Yugoslavia and its concomitant invitation to foreign investment in the burgeoning capitalist utopia, Croatia then chased foreign companies out with years of new bureaucratic bloodworms created solely to feed the government’s greed. This abandoned most of the country to the mercy of its own nature, so the government was left with no one else to siphon dry except its own citizens, and the national market retaliated by wringing their flayed remains until life became unsustainable. Being inducted into the single-currency Euro zone was their one hope of escaping themselves.

But the fresh depredations by the native merchants has been so rapid and extreme that even the government has been shocked into responding, and today Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced they would intercede within the week. Plenković took the opportunity to blame: “a gang of traders and entrepreneurs of taking advantage of the transition from the Croatian kuna to the euro with this irresponsible behavior.”

Threatening government intervention if the situation does not “normalize” by Friday, Plenković said that the government has powers “that it will not hesitate to use.” In an inadvertent example to the rest of the world, the Croatian government has already spoken of raising taxes on companies and services engaged in the mass extortion, while reducing consumer prices and locking them down to their December levels.