Anti-Corruption Council chair expects Croatia’s corruption score to be worsen

NEWS 25.01.2022 12:59
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Source: N1

After the release of the latest annual Transparency International report on corruption, in which Croatia, ranking 63rd with a score of 47, is still among countries that are considered corrupt, the head of the parliament's Anti-Corruption Council, Nikola Grmoja, said he expects even worse results.

“I expect the results to get even worse if the government continues acting like this, wishing to capture all institutions,” the opposition Most party MP said.

The Anti-Corruption Council had asked for keeping the powers of the Conflict of Interest Commission so that it could be able to decide on breaches of conduct of office, he explained.

“We asked the parliament and the government not to adopt the report by the Attorney General who kept hidden the case against PM Andrej Plenkovic’s minister Gabrijela Zalac and to replace her, but not only was our request rejected, there was no will to discuss the matter at all, so I am not surprised by TI’s findings,” Grmoja said.

“For Croatia to leave the group of corrupt countries in TI’s ranking we need autonomous institutions that will punish omissions as those committed by the Attorney General’s Office and hold to account those responsible for them,” Grmoja said.

Expert: Stagnation as expected

Anti-corruption expert Zorislav Antun Petrovic said Croatia’s stagnating in the TI ranking was as expected.

“Practically since the EU accession date was set no serious effort has been invested to eliminate room for corruption in the country. The huge progress made since 2002, when the Stabilisation and Association Agreement was signed and when in the following ten years important improvement was made, was evidently possible primarily due to external pressure, pressure from the EU to be exact. The moment that pressure was gone, Croatian authorities started behaving like bad students who, as soon as school is over, throw all their books out of the window and go out to play,” Petrovic said.

He noted, however, that next year Croatia could join countries without an essential problem with corruption, at least not perception-wise, because over the past year the new Conflict of Interest Prevention Act and the new Access to Information Act were adopted, while in February the new law on the protection of whistle-blowers should be adopted.

“Since most surveys based on which the corruption perceptions index is calculated are based on analyses of legislation, these laws are expected to bring Croatia a few more points,” he said.

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