EC Report: 91 Percent of Croatian Companies Consider Corruption Rife

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes on the 2nd of October, 2020, in the first annual EC report on the functioning of the rule of law for the Republic of Croatia, the fact that 91 percent of Croatian companies consider corruption to be widespread (the EU average otherwise stands at a significantly lower 63 percent), and that for 57 percent of Croatian companies it poses a problem in business (with the EU average being a far lower 37 percent), is greatly concerning.

Although the Croatian judiciary has made progress in reducing the enormous backlog of cases, there are still many problems with efficiency, independence and quality, while the matter is even more complex with regard to the corruption perception index, which is always a very hot topic indeed in Croatia.

According to Transparency International for the year 2019, the Republic of Croatia ranks 18th in the European Union and 63rd in the entire world, but it unfortunately ranks as the worst in the 2020 Eurobarometer survey in terms of citizens’ perceptions of corruption: as many as 97 percent believe it is widespread (the EU average is otherwise 71 percent) and 54 percent of them feel personally affected by it in their everyday lives (whereas the EU average stands at a lower 26 percent). The report also points out that in September 2020, the Minister of Justice and Administration announced a new anti-corruption strategy.

The EC report, which is the latest strategic document, accompanied by three two-year action plans and largely implemented, is lacking due to the postponement of some initiatives to strengthen ethics and integrity among top executives and members of parliament and to regulate lobbying. Corruption at the local level remains a cause for concern, due to, they say, structural weaknesses and the management of local state-owned enterprises.

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