CROATIA'S ECONOMY - "MOSTLY UNFREE", RANKED 113th OUT OF 157 NATIONS AND REMAINS AT THE BOTTOM OF EUROPE - 14Th ANNUAL INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM SHOWS - PUBLISHED BY THE WALL STREET JOURNAL AND THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Natasha Srdoc on the Balkans: "Why we aren't free yet"
Natasha Srdoc, co-founder and chairman, Adriatic Institute for Public Policy and founding president, Hrvatska 21 stoljeća - Croatia 21st Century
"But in order to beat back the scourge of corruption we need both to help ourselves, most importantly to be helped by outside forces. Citizens can exert a certain degree of pressure, by resolving not to accept endemic corruption. However, they would benefit greatly from more immediate and more robust support from international partners.
This is why, contrary to conventional wisdom, many citizens of the countries of southeast Europe would be grateful to the EU and NATO if these organisations would more explicitly pressure governments in the region to curb corruption.
The freedom that membership in such organisations is meant to strengthen and protect is otherwise exposed to attack and erosion on its crucial economic flank. The risk may not be felt in Brussels or in this region’s halls of power, but we citizens feel it in our bones."