Korupcija i povjerenje u institucije u Hrvatskoj prije i poslije ulaska u EU


The paper explores Croatian citizens' attitudes, perceptions of corruption, and trust in institutions before and after Croatia's accession to the EU. The empirical research was conducted by comparing the survey conducted in 2022 with the same questions from the 1999, 2008, 2010, and/or 2017 surveys. The recent survey was replicated after sufficiently long periods to observe changes in public attitudes, perceptions, and behavior in Croatia today and compare them to those before EU membership. The main research question is whether corruption has decreased or increased since Croatia joined the EU. The results point to the EU's weak influence in reducing corruption and strengthening trust in institutions for the newest EU member state that was supposed to meet the rigorous conditions of admission in this segment.

Indeed, in Croatia, the perception of corruption increased after joining the EU. The outcomes worsened in all observed dimensions: corruption became the most important problem in Croatia, corruptive behavior of public employees is considered frequent, and the perceived corrupt practices in public institutions as increasing.

The most corrupt institutions are the local and central government, political parties, and the judiciary. High perceptions of corruption prevalence follow the public's opinion that reporting corruption is futile and risky. The opinion that corruption is sometimes the only means of achieving the goal is gaining importance, primarily because citizens lack trust in (corrupt) institutions. Citizens have little or no trust in the highest institutions of executive, legislative, and judicial power: the Government, the Parliament, and the judiciary.

This empirical survey of citizens' attitudes and perceptions of corruption before and after Croatia's accession to the EU provides insight into the direction and intensity of changes, thus contributing to the scarce literature on the relationship between corruption in member states and the institutional framework of the EU.