Croatia: Council of Europe Anti-Corruption Group Calls for More Integrity in Government and Law Enforcement

Total Croatia News

Strasbourg, 24.03.2020 – The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published today its fifth round evaluation report on Croatia dealing with preventing corruption in government (top executive functions) and the police.

GRECO’s report recognises that Croatia has the tools in place to promote integrity and prevent corruption in the public sector. At the same time, however, the report points to where improvements should be made, both in legislation and in practice. To start with, GRECO considers that developments in recent years have shown a need to ensure that integrity standards also apply to people working in an advisory capacity for the government. More specifically regarding members of the government, state secretaries and assistant ministers, the report calls for the adoption of a code of conduct, to be supplemented with practical guidance, briefings on the integrity rules in place and confidential counselling. GRECO further recommends that the current rules on the taking up of employment – when a person entrusted with top executive functions leaves an official position – need to be broadened and considers that the lack of rules on reporting and disclosing contacts with lobbyists/third parties that seek to influence the public decision-making process constitutes a gap. This gap must be filled in order to further improve transparency.

Similarly, requirements need to be introduced for persons entrusted with top executive functions to disclose situations in which their private interests may conflict with their official functions and to submit their financial declarations to the Commission for the Prevention of Conflicts of Interest more frequently than is currently the case. To help the Commission in carrying out its tasks, GRECO emphasises that more should be done to better enable the Commission to obtain the information it needs to verify financial declarations of government members, state secretaries and assistant ministers. In this connection, GRECO also stresses the importance of officials (irrespective of their position) showing full cooperation with independent institutions such as the Commission.

When it comes to the police, the report notes a relatively low level of trust in the police and considers that more needs to be done to prevent corruption risks within the police itself. Such efforts should start with comprehensive risk assessment of corruption-prone activities within the police, as a basis to adopt an integrity and anti-corruption strategy for the entire police force. The report furthermore acknowledges the existing code of ethics for police officers, but considers that it would need to better cover all integrity matters and be supplemented with an explanatory manual to become a truly practical tool and a reference point for the to-be-revised police trainings. Furthermore, more attention needs to be paid to the current appointment and promotion processes of police officers and their employment after they leave the police. Finally, GRECO recommends that a requirement be established for police staff to report integrity-related misconduct they come across in the police service.

The Croatian authorities are required to report back to GRECO by mid-2021 on the measures they have taken to implement the recommendations contained in the evaluation report, which will be assessed by GRECO through its compliance procedure.

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The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is a Council of Europe body that aims to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards. It helps states to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms. Currently it comprises the 47 Council of Europe member states, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the United States of America

Contact : Panos Kakaviatos, Spokesperson/Media officer, Tel. +33 6 98 37 64 04


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