Croatia is ranked 50th among 168 countries according to the Transparency International (TI) corruption perceptions index and is no longer among countries considered as corrupt, Transparency International Croatia (TIH) said on Wednesday.
TIH president Davorka Budimir told a news conference that a TI survey showed that Croatia had moved up the ranking by three points to 51 points, which puts it among less corrupt countries.
"Headway in the fight against corruption is finally visible in Croatia as well," Budimir said while presenting the findings of the latest TI survey to representatives of numerous bodies of state authority, foreign embassies and institutions, and anti-corruption institutions.
Budimir said that the fight against corruption required ensuring unobstructed work of bodies of public authority, as well as encouraging civic activism and freeing citizens of the fear of reporting corruption.
She said that among the most important institutions in the fight against corruption, along with the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH) and the anti-corruption investigation agency (USKOK), was the judiciary and that it should ensure short, fair and timely trials.
"Corruption directly threatens citizens' human rights and their equality in achieving their own interests, it destroys the morality and structure of society and prevents the development of free enterprise. Corruption tends to permeate all segments of society and therefore represents the biggest threat to Croatia's economic, social and political development," Budimir said.
She added that the public must not get the impression that the fight against corruption boils down to political account-settling.
"Statements about zero tolerance to corruption should be translated into action by all political stakeholders regardless of whether they are in power or in the Opposition because politicians are the most responsible for protecting citizens," she said.
The latest TI corruption perceptions index, the most influential indicator of corruption on the global level, shows that the least corrupt countries in 2015 were Denmark, with 91 points, Finland, with 90 points, New Zealand, with 88 points, and the Netherlands and Norway, both with 87 points. The most corrupt states are North Korea and Somalia, with only 8 points.
The average index for the EU is 67 points, which means that Croatia is far below that average, however, it is above the global average, which stands at 43 points.