From the letter of the Minister of Justice and Public Administration Ivan Malenica to GRECO, in which he tried to deal with Gong, it is clear that our concern is justified and that the Commission for the Prevention of Conflicts of Interest will lose its power. The Commission will no longer be able to decide whether an official has acted honestly, fairly, conscientiously, responsibly, and impartially, preserving his or her own credibility and the dignity and trust of citizens. It will be left without this important authority, the power to decide on the general principles of action in the exercise of public office. After Gong warned GRECO last week about attempts to destroy the Commission in Croatia, this Monday we again addressed this specialized anti-corruption body of the Council of Europe to respond to the accusations of the Minister, but also to warn of the pressures we experience as a civil society organization.
Many civil society organisations in Croatia are suffering from burnout and exhaustion, and have been at brink of existence for a long time, with less and less time for the most important part of their job and their very reason for existence – solving social problems and creating positive social change.
In the fight for health, we must not lose democracy. The various restrictions on civil rights and freedoms that we have witnessed in recent days after the introduction of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus require decisive action to safeguard democratic institutions and processes.
The Government of the Republic of Croatia, like most states, has adopted extraordinary measures to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Those measures should not be abused. Restrictions imposed must be motivated solely by public health reasons, enforced following the Constitution, and should last only for the duration of the pandemic.
Citizen participation is one of the key elements in the establishment and development of modern society representing the interests of all citizens, social groups and society as a whole.