Dear Commissioner Malmström,
Transparency International Croatia has welcomed your initiative, owing to which the first ever Anti-Corruption Report of the European Union was launched. The Report – especially the part relating to Croatia- echoed strongly in the Croatian public.
At a public debate organised by the European Commission Representation in Croatia, we have supported the Commission’s recommendations and used the opportunity to express our concerns of the unsustainability of the current situation. The Head of USKOK (Office for the Prevention of Corruption and Organized Crime), Dinko Cvitank, joined in on our warning pointing to the importance of addressing corruption particularly at Croatia’s local level. We have also witnessed the statement of the Assistant Minister of Justice, Ivan Crnčec, who stressed that the ministry is working on an anti-corruption strategy for the 2014-2017 period – something we look forward to!
Although Croatia has created a legal framework to combat corruption ahead of the country’s accession to the European Union, adequate implementation of anti-corruption legislation and measures is still lacking. Croatia’s public administration is highly politicised and corruption erodes both public companies and local authorities.
This situation is particularly difficult for whistleblowers who play an important role in exposing corruption. Transparency International Croatia therefore urges policy makers to adopt the Whistleblower Protection Act as soon as possible.
Further, we believe that sanctioning alone is not sufficient to effectively eradicate corruption in Croatia. What is needed in addition is systematic prevention to hinder corruption to flourish right from the start.
Transparency International Croatia therefore calls for the establishment of a Register of Public Officialsat all levels. This register should – along with socio-demographic data - also contain information about the assets of all politically appointed officials and their political engagements.
We are looking forward to sharing our national and local anti-corruption expertise with you.
Since the success of this endeavour is a prerequisite for the economic progress of our country, Transparency International Croatia encourages you to keep monitoring Croatia’s efforts in the fight against corruption!
Davorka Budimir, President of Transparency International Croatia