Survey: Croatia still at bottom of EU on perceived independence of judiciary

NEWS 19.05.2022 20:47
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Croatia is at the bottom of the EU ranking on perceived independence of the national justice system, just as it was last year, according to a Eurobarometer survey published on Thursday.

The European Commission published an overview of the state of justice systems in the EU member states and the results of a Eurobarometer survey on perceived independence of the national justice systems among the general population and among companies.

When it comes to the perceived independence of courts and judges, Croatia ranked last. As many as 74 per cent of the people interviewed in Croatia rated the national justice system as “fairly bad” and “very bad”, while the EU average for these answers is 35 per cent.

Only five per cent of Croatian respondents think that with regard to the independence of courts and judges the situation is “very good” and 15 per cent consider it “fairly good”.

Nearly two-thirds, or 65 per cent of those who describe the situation as bad ascribe it to interference or pressure from the government and politicians. The EU average is 54 per cent.

Forty-seven per cent of Croatian respondents blamed the poor state of the justice system on interference or pressure from economic or other specific interests, while 30 per cent of the disgruntled respondents stated that the status and position of judges do not sufficiently guarantee their independence.

Similar results were also observed among companies.

Seventy-three per cent of companies interviewed said that the Croatian justice system is “fairly bad” and “very bad”. The EU average for these answers is 24 per cent.

Only five per cent of companies interviewed in Croatia think that the situation with regard to judicial independence is “very good” and 16 per cent consider it “fairly good”.

Similarly to the results from the general population, 67 per cent of companies think that the situation is bad because of interference or pressure from the government and politicians, 50 per cent put it down to interference or pressure from economic or other specific interests, while 34 per cent (which is also the EU average) think that the status and position of judges do not sufficiently guarantee their independence.

When it comes to investment protection in courts, Croatia ranked second to last, ahead of Poland.

Seven per cent of companies interviewed in Croatia said they are “very confident” that their investments will be protected by the law and courts if something goes wrong, compared to the EU average of 40 per cent, while 17 per cent said they have little or fairly little confidence in that regard, compared to the EU average of 21 per cent.

The survey showed that Finns, Danes, Austrians, Luxembourgers and the Dutch have the greatest confidence in the independence of their justice systems.

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