Two decades since fighting itself free of Yugoslavia, Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union at midnight on Sunday against a backdrop of economic woes in the Adriatic republic and the bloc it is joining.
The country of 4.4 million people becomes only the second of the seven states carved from federal Yugoslavia to enter the EU, following Slovenia in 2004.
It represents a milestone in Croatia’s recovery from a 1991-95 war to secure independence in which some 20,000 people died.
The country’s Adriatic coastline has since become a magnet for some 10 million tourists every year, but a biting recession now in its fifth year has taken the shine off Sunday’s celebration.
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