NGO pressure seems to have unexpectedly worked.
The government on Wednesday decided to postpone the adoption of a rule about criteria for determining beneficiaries and the method of allocation of revenues from the state lottery and other similar activities for this year. It has therefore accepted an appeal by some civil society organizations which have demanded the postponement, reports 24sata.hr on April 6, 2016.
The announcement that the rules would be changed at today’s session of the government caused a strong reaction from some members of the Council for Development of Civil Society, an advisory body to the government, and other civil society organizations who demanded the postponement and additional discussion about the allocation criteria.
Activists from these NGOs distributed leaflets to ministers coming to today’s session, warning that the new proposed rules would lead to reduced funding for the most vulnerable groups in society. Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said at the session that new allocation criteria would keep the money “within the non-profit sector”. “The money would have stayed with exactly those organizations for which we are being criticized, and these are organizations dealing with the youth, population policy, cultural and sporting activities, war veterans”, he said.
Marić noted that this was an Olympic year and that the fact was also taken into account when the rules were drafted. “We considered everything that was foreseen for this year”, said Marić. He agreed with the critics that the rules should have been adopted before the 2016 budget. He promised that, in the future, “regular procedures will be implemented”.
Representatives of civil society organizations carried banners that read “These are the reforms? Destruction of the infrastructure for the homeless, sustainable development, support for people with disabilities, youth, environmental protection?”
Member of the Council for Development of Civil Society Mirela Travar said that the proposed rule was drafted in a non-transparent manner and added that the money was scheduled to be cut only for the National Foundation for Civil Society Development, in the amount of 30 million kunas. “The Foundation is the only institution which has a long tradition of giving systematic institutional support to civil society organizations that deal with the most vulnerable groups”, she said.