EU’s newest member state Croatia faces criticism

Fighting corruption and organized crime were identified as key target areas as Croatia prepared to join the European Union. However, following the country’s EU entry July 1, critics claim standards have still not been met. Last year, a survey by corporate advisory service Ernst & Young found Croatia to be the second-most corrupt country in Europe. On June 25, just days before Croatia joined the EU, a damning report by corruption watchdog Transparency International cast further aspersions atop the mounting concerns.

That report, “Buying Influence: Money and Elections in the Western Balkans,” found that during Croatia’s 2012 election only 50 percent to 60 percent of campaign funding for political parties could be traced and officially accounted for.

Also, the report found substantial problems in that electoral monitoring bodies were under-resourced and there was poor enforcement of sanctions for political parties flouting campaign laws.

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