Opposition Welcomes EC’s Request to Strengthen Conflict of Interest Commission

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 24, 2019 – Opposition parties in the Croatian Parliament on Thursday welcomed the request by the European Commission that in the process of accession to the Schengen free-travel area Croatia should strengthen its Commission on Prevention of Conflict of Interest, especially the penalty mechanisms, while some of the ruling parties said that improvements were necessary to enhance the Commission’s operational role.

Peđa Grbin of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) recalled that the adoption of the Conflict of Interest Prevention Act had been one of the conditions for the conclusion of accession negotiations with the European Union.

“Had we not adopted the rules on the prevention of conflict of interest and given the Commission relatively broad powers, we wouldn’t have been in the EU. And now, after we entered the EU, we behave like some who we laughed at, such as Bulgaria or Romania which entered the EU and then started breaking the rules and accession criteria. Croatia said that it would not behave like that, but it was enough for the HDZ to come to power for us to turn our backs on that,” Grbin told reporters.

He called for strict rules on the prevention of conflict of interest.

“Croatia needs to combat conflict of interest because it is the first step towards corruption. If we don’t want to be among the most corrupt countries in Europe and the world, we have to start preventing conflict of interest. The fact that the European Commission felt the need to write about it in a report clearly indicates that this matters to Europe too,” Grbin said.

Sunčana Glavak of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said that Croatia had met all technical criteria for Schengen membership.

“Everything that has been done in the last three years is an excellent success of the government and I am confident that we will continue in this direction so that Croatia becomes a full member of the Schengen area as soon as possible because that is in the interest of our citizens, as well as in the interest of citizens of the EU and our neighbours. Croatia has the longest border and we are in a way, guardians of European peace and security,” Glavak said.

“The Commission on Prevention of Conflict of Interest has its powers, it must work in accordance with the law and interpret the law correctly, and whether the law should be amended, whether its powers should be expanded or not should be left to the legislature to decide,” Glavak said.

Milorad Batinić of the Croatian People’s Party (HNS), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, said that his party was of the view that the Conflict of Interest Prevention Act should be improved.

He said that certain improvements should be made to enhance the operational role of the Commission, adding that the HNS supported transparency and wanted the Commission to have the same powers as similar bodies in the EU.

More news about conflict of interest issues can be found in the Politics section.


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