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.
Croatian civil society organizations, gathered in the informal network Forum 2020, through in-person consultations in five cities (Rijeka, Varaždin, Split, Osijek and Zagreb) as well as online consultations, have come to an agreement on the priorities for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from January to June 2020.
It is a political responsibility, primarily of the ones that are currently in the position of power, the fact that they enabled – by actions or oversights – for the HRT not to represent a public media service we deserve, but to serve in enabling the relativisation and normalisation of the instances not welcome in the democratic society.