Several members of the Council for Civil Society Development resign in protest.
The government on Friday held a session and adopted the Regulation on the Criteria for Determining Beneficiaries and Method of Allocation for Revenues from Games of Chance for this year. The original proposal was withdrawn two weeks ago after protests from NGOs, reports Večernji List on April 23, 2016.
This Regulation determines the allocation of estimated almost 380 million kuna from the revenues of Croatian Lottery.
In its original proposal, the government proposed a decrease in funding for NGOs which contribute to the development of civil society from 14.21 percent last year to 4.41 percent this year. The figure has now been increased slightly to 6.88 percent.
Organizations that promote the development of sports will get 32.95 percent of lottery funds, followed by organizations dealing with problems and needs of persons with disabilities which will get 19.31 percent of the funds.
NGOs involved in social and humanitarian activities will get 17.81 percent of the money, while organizations dealing with culture will receive 12.41 percent of lottery funds. The rest of the money will be distributed to NGOs dealing with fight against drugs and various forms of addiction, technical culture and non-institutional education.
The government explained that the criteria were determined in accordance with national strategies and programmes of public needs in accordance with the relevant activities and programmes for encouraging the development of civil society.
Reacting to the government’s decision, president of the Council for Civil Society Development Željka Leljak Gracin and several members announced that they had resigned because the government had devalued its advisory body by adopting the regulation at the very moment when the Council was discussing the issue at its session.
In addition to the president, resignations were tendered by members from civil society organizations dealing with social welfare, youth activities, protection and promotion of human rights, culture, environmental protection and sustainable development, democratization, rule of law and the development of education – Jany Hansal, Mirela Travar, Cvijeta Senta, Igor Roginek and Katarina Pavić, who invited other members of the Council to do the same.
They said that the dialogue between civil society and government in Croatia had been developing for more than fifteen years as an example of inclusive social development, and had been recognized as exemplary at the international level as well.
“By this act, the government abolished the basic principles for development of civil society, and on a symbolic level it abolished democracy based on procedures and a dialogue of interested parties”, they said and added that they were “unwilling to take part in this farce”.
The Council for Civil Society Development is an advisory body to the government for the development of cooperation between the government and civil society organizations.