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2006-11-15

 

Croatian Spin Doctors


November 15, 2006

The European Union shells out millions of euros each year on translation services. How unfortunate, then, that the progress reports that the European Commission published last week for eight potential EU members are so far available only in English.

We're not pulling a Jacques Chirac, decrying the dominance of English. The shame here is the fact that the reports don't come in the languages spoken in the countries they scrutinize. That opens the door for politicians who aren't sufficiently committed to reforms to spin the results.

Take Croatia. After Bulgaria and Romania enter the EU in January, Croatia will be next in line. According to the EU report, though, Zagreb still has "no overall strategic framework" for reform. It lacks "clear and transparent rules and procedures with regard to elections and the forming of governments at the local level." It is "still some way from enjoying an independent, impartial, transparent and efficient judicial system." And, "[m]any allegations of corruption remain uninvestigated and corrupt practices usually go unpunished." Those are just the political issues.

So how is the report being received in Croatia? As praise for the "progress . . . when it comes to reforms," if you listen to Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. Many Croats have no choice but to do so since the report isn't available in their mother tongue and, as the Commission noted, the independence of the press is far from perfect.

The Commission says it's never provided candidate reports in their local languages and that this hasn't been a problem before. Well, maybe. But as the bloc expands to more distant frontiers, the number of reforms needed tends to rise and the freedom of the press and civil society to encourage or even monitor them tends to fall.

Enlargement is one of the EU's most valuable functions, because it gives countries like Croatia added incentive to undertake painful but beneficial reforms. Perhaps few Croats would take the time to read these reports in their own language. But, knowing that their statements could be more easily checked, their leaders might think twice about playing spin doctor.

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"Wall Street Journal" podrugljivo prokomentirao Sanaderove eurointegracijske "uspjehe"

NJUJORŠKI list "Wall Street Journal" u svome članku od 15. studenog pod naslovom "Hrvatski spin doktori", osvrnuo se na činjenicu kako je Europska unija u svojem izviješću o pregovorima o priključenju Hrvatske rekla jedno, a hrvatska javnost o tom izviješću čula nešto sasvim drugo.

Tako WSJ citira izviješće koje tvrdi da Hrvatska "nema strateški okvir" za reforme koje su nužne za priključenje, kao i da joj nedostaju "transparentna pravila i procedure izbora odnosno vlasti na lokalnoj razini".

Izviješće također spominje kako je Hrvatska daleko od toga da uživa u "nezavisnom, nepristranom, transparentnom i efikasnom pravosuđu", kao i da je u njoj korupcija "sveprisutna i najčešće nekažnjena".

WSJ zatim citira izviješća vodećih hrvatskih medija koja, pozivajući se na premijera Sanadera, tvrde da je Europska komisija u svom izvješću "pohvalila napredak Hrvatske u reformama".

Autor članka pretpostavlja da je malo vjerojatno da će većina ljudi u Hrvatskoj premijerove riječi dovesti u pitanje, s obzirom na "slabu razinu slobode tiska".

WSJ pretpostavlja kako razlog što je Sanader mogao tako obmanjivati hrvatsku javnost leži u činjenici što je izviješće objavljeno isključivo na engleskom jeziku, što je bila uobičajena praksa prilikom prethodnih proširivanja.

Međutim, autori upozoravaju da daljnje širenje EU na istok zahtijeva daleko veće i bolnije reforme, s obzirom da novi kandidati imaju daleko niže demokratske standarde od prethodnih, odnosno da je za EU nužno da razmisli o objavljivanju izviješća na hrvatskom i drugim jezicima, kako bi javnost tih zemalja uistinu znala na čemu zapravo stoji.

D.A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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