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Croatia: Corruption, Organized Crime and the Balkan Route
By Katelyn Foster, Research Associate, Adriatic Institute for Public Policy




Adriatic Institute Disappointed by Pending German Approval for EU to Admit Croatia

EU taxpayers at risk with Croatia’s corruption, organized crime, and depressed economy

Rijeka, Croatia, May 17, 2013 — The Adriatic Institute for Public Policy, an independent think tank, expressed disappointment that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of the other European Union member nations have failed to observe the EU accession criteria in approving the entry of Croatia.

In its open letter to Chancellor Merkel in April 2013, the Institute cited twelve concerns, including Croatia’s corruption, organized crime, persecution of the media, fraudulent elections, and depressed economy. The Institute called for visiting foreign judges and prosecutors from nations with strong rule of law to address the corruption of public officials, recover illicit outflows, and assist in establishing an independent judiciary.

On Thursday, May 16, 2013, Germany’s lower house voted to ratify Croatia’s accession into the EU, with six members abstaining.

“The consequences of this misjudgment lie ahead,” warned Natasha Srdoc, co-founder and chairman of the Institute.  “Taxpayers of EU member states have to question government leaders who have betrayed their interests and placed them at risk.  EU taxpayers can no longer tolerate bailouts of corrupt and fiscally mismanaged states.”

The Institute observed that the EU accession process has failed the Croatian people. The process did not deliver the economic freedom, rule of law, protection of property rights, and independent judiciary the citizens of Croatia expected. Nor did it resolve the problem of corruption. In addition, the country’s ability to achieve economic freedom will be limited by the policies of the EU.

The Adriatic Institute noted that EU leaders have ignored the lessons of the accession process of Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovenia, in failing to verify Croatia’s reforms.

Croatia suffers from an overall unemployment rate of 22% and youth unemployment of 51.6%. It experienced $15.2 billion in illicit financial outflows via crime, corruption, and tax evasion from 2001-2010.  In December 2012, Croatia’s credit rating was downgraded to junk status.

 The Adriatic Institute raised the following questions:

Will the EU now have to bail out Croatia? 

Will new EU aid further enrich Croatia’s corrupt politicians and their friends?


The Adriatic Institute for Public Policy founded in Rijeka, Croatia, in 2004, is dedicated to advancing the rule of law, protecting private property rights, advocating market based reforms, promoting media freedom and working to establish an open, accountable and transparent government in Croatia and SE Europe.  The independent think tank’s distinguished executive advisory board and its strategic partners include former cabinet members from reform governments, elected representatives, economists and judicial experts committed to implementing reforms initiatives in the Balkan region.



Notes to Editors:

1.  Click here to read the Open Letter to German Chancellor Merkel on Croatia:

2.  Click here to read the Open Letter to Croatia’s PM Zoran Milanović and Finance Minister Slavko Linić, on $15.2 Billion in Illicit Financial Outflows, a video in Croatian presented by Natasha Srdoč ( viewed by over 23,000 individuals and the state-run HRT’s nationally televised interview with Natasha Srdoč and Monica Macovei, MEP and former justice minister, Romania ( - English sub-titles included.

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