The European Commission has published the first Anti-Corruption EU Report.
The report thoroughly evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of 28 member States in the anti-corruption fight. The report was compiled by the Directorate General for Home Affairs, and it is based on the assessment by the European Commission which has worked on it for the past two years, as well as an independent assessment of Transparency International.
The report states that, due to the entrance of Croatia into the European Union, it has established a broad legal and institutional framework for the fight against corruption, but that the Croatian citizens believe that in every area corruption is more pervasive than does the average citizen of the Union. On average, 76% of EU citizens believe that corruption is widespread in their country. In Croatia, the percentage is much higher. Even 94% of citizens believe that corruption in Croatia is widespread. 4% of EU citizens, or 6% of Croatians, last year were in a position of having to pay bribes or somehow witnessed corruption. 81% of Croatian companies believe that corruption creates obstacles in their business.
The largest problems in Croatia are, according to the report, the lack of implementation of the existing legal framework, the emphasis on repression rather than on prevention, nepotism in the public sector, the high politicization of public administration, low standard of integrity in politics, and corruption in public companies and public procurement.
Therefore, the Commission seeks a strong review of the financial status and the conflicts of interest for government officials on the local level, greater professionalization of management, corruption prevention in public companies, strategic approach to the prevention of corruption in public procurement procedures, stronger control in health care and an increased use of the right of access to information. Otherwise, the European Commission has only recommended strong protection of the whistlers to Croatia – persons who report irregularities, which are already well protected in other countries of the Union.
"Anti-corruption report by the European Union confirms that Croatia needs to seriously set to work in the fight against corruption. What is required is a solid implementation of the existing laws that inhibit non-transparent actions and the creation of more stringent legal framework for the prevention of conflicts of interest. Day after day, the media reveal the affairs in which the Croatian government officials have shown an amazing ability of exploiting loopholes. Because of cases such as these, the requisition of the officials’ assets who had gained it by taking advantage of the public goods, should be enabled", said the president of Transparency International Croatia, Davorka Budimir, and expressed satisfaction that most of the recommendations of the European Commission for the prevention of corruption in Croatia overlap with Transparency International Croatia past years highlights.
In order to successfully coerce corruption in Croatia, Transparency International Croatia proposes the creation of a Registry of political officials. This register, like Veterans Registry should contain publicly available information about the assets of officials.