GRECO: Fifth Round Evaluation Report on Croatia
On 24 March 2020 GRECO published its fifth round evaluation report on Croatia. GRECO recognises the available anti-corruption tools but calls for improvements in legislation and practice. Among the key challenges, integrity standards should also apply to persons working for the government in an advisory capacity, in particular members of the government, state secretaries, and assistant ministers. A code of conduct for people in senior positions needs to be adopted. This should be complemented by practical guidance, briefings, and confidential advice on conflicts of interest and other integrity-related matters such as gifts, outside activities, and contacts with third parties.
When recruiting, people in top executive functions should disclose their contacts with lobbyists/third parties and later also disclose situations in which their private interests could conflict with their official functions. A financial statement should be submitted annually to the Commission for the Prevention of Conflicts. The Commission’s ability to obtain information should be further enhanced by rules requiring officials to provide the necessary information. In addition, the available sanctions should be reviewed to ensure that all breaches of the relevant law have the appropriate consequences. The procedural immunity of members of the government should be limited by exempting offences related to corruption that are subject to public prosecution.
The public shows a low level of trust towards the police. GRECO therefore recommends preventing corruption risks within the police force by means of the following:
- Abolishing the practice of paying fines directly in cash to police officers;
- Carrying out a comprehensive risk assessment, thereby identifying problems and emerging trends within the police;
- Conducting a comprehensive risk assessment, thereby identifying problems and emerging trends within the police in order to use this data for the proactive design of an integrity and anti-corruption strategy;
- Updating the code of ethics for police officers to include all relevant integrity issues, supplemented by a manual or handbook;
- Conducting a study on the activities of police officers after leaving the police and, if necessary, introducing rules to limit the risks of the emergence of any conflicts of interest;
- Introducing a requirement for police staff to report integrity-related misconduct encountered in the police service.