June 16. 2024. 8:21

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Freedom House report highlights corruption as the most serious issue in Croatia

Civil and political rights are generally respected in Croatia, but corruption in the public sector is a serious issue, Freedom House said in an assessment of the youngest EU member’s democracy that is part of its annual ‘Freedom in the World’ report.

Croatia, which joined the EU in 2013, and then the eurozone and the EU’s passport-free Schengen area in January this year, dropped one point in the overall assessment for a total of 84/100.

Freedom House, a non-profit US-based organisation that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights, also pointed out that Roma, ethnic Serbs, as well as LGBT+ people face discrimination in Croatia, while the Catholic Church remains influential and often associated with far-right civil society groups.

However, the country’s poorest ranking was in the section about corruption, titled ‘Are safeguards against official corruption strong and effective?’, where it scored only 2/4.

“The score declined from 3 to 2 due to systemic corruption among government ministers and officials,” the report said.

It listed several notable corruption cases, including the arrest of Construction Minister Darko Horvat in February, as well as the indictment of former minister Gabrijela Žalac by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in December.

(Zoran Radosavljević | EURACTIV.com)