Slovenia is situated at the crossroads of Central Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Balkans. The region came under control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the late 1200s. After the collapse of the Empire, Slovenia joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918. The kingdom was named as Yugoslavia in 1929, and came under Communist rule after World War II. In 1991, along with neighboring Croatia, Slovenia declared its independence from Yugoslavia. As a young independent republic, Slovenia pursued further political openness, while emphasizing its Western outlook and central European heritage. Being the most prosperous region of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia's transition from a centrally-planned economy to a free market one was easier than most other transition economies. The country is endowed with highly skilled human capital and also enjoys excellent infrastructure. Political and economic stability has allowed it to achieve solid economic growth since the mid-1990s, and Slovenia is today one of the best economic performers in Central and Eastern Europe. Slovenia was welcomed into the European Union in May 2004, and became the first new EU member to adopt the euro in January 2007.