Commenting on European surveys showing that Croatians were among those EU citizens who trusted their state institutions and local self-government bodies the least, Public Administration Minister Ivan Kovacic said on Thursday that the communication between citizens and local self-government bodies would be improved as part of a public administration reform.
“The public administration reform is aimed at improving the communication between employees in local self-government bodies and citizens,” Kovacic said after a government session, adding that regulations on the use of official cars would be reconsidered and better proposals regarding travel order forms put forward.
A survey by the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building (ERCAS) on citizens’ trust in national institutions, presented earlier in the day, shows that in the period from 2008 to 2013 Croatians’ trust in the national parliament and regional bodies of representation dropped by 4%.
“In eastern European countries citizens’ trust in state institutions has been constantly low, with only 6% of Slovenians trusting their government, and 14% of Croatians trusting theirs, while in Sweden the level of trust is 69%. The key generators of distrust are insecurity and evidence of corruption. There is no trust without transparency. Only when citizens become confident that public policies are successful will the trends reverse,” said Information Commissioner Anamarija Musa.
Of all EU citizens, Croatians have the highest perception of the privileged treatment of some social groups regarding the availability of public services such as healthcare, education and police protection.
“As many as 52% of citizens believe that some social groups have better access to education, 63% believe this is so with medical services, and 54% believe this is so with regard to police protection,” Musa said, adding that this was the reason why citizens felt distrust towards the government.
Ivan Kopric of the Zagreb Faculty of Law said some progress had been made with regard to the public’s access to information, transparency of financial documents and the public’s involvement in the drafting of the state budget.
“However, we are aware that scandals break out every day that reduce citizens’ trust in the public sector, in public administration and the political system in general. Politicians should be doing exactly the opposite – strengthening political principles, promoting professionalism and the efficiency of the public sector,” Kopric said.
“A lot remains to be done, some laws should be changed. Politicians should be more open to citizens and deal with problems of local communities,” said Kopric.
An expert on European integration processes, Igor Vidacak, spoke about the central web portal for consultation with the public, which, he said, had more than 6,000 registered users.
“Results of consultations on every act on which consultations are held are visible. However, of the comments submitted, those of a technical nature are more frequently accepted, but less so comments that change the substance of certain options,” said Vidacak./IBNA