President Fighting Corruption, Promoting EU Accession

Ivo Josipovic, President of Croatia, was elected by a wide margin in January 2010 after campaigning on the promise of waging “an uncompromising fight against corruption” and moving Croatia closer to EU membership.

Commenting on his election victory, the new president said, “I deeply believe that all of us want to live in a country in which work is rewarded and crime punished, in a country of social security and justice.” Croatia’s corruption issues have been a major stumbling block to its EU accession, which the new president strongly supports.

Ivo Josipovic, President
Ivo Josipovic, President

After working diligently throughout 2010 not only to combat corruption but also to restore the Croatian population’s faith in its government and in its economy, which has suffered from the effects of the global crisis, Ivo Josipovic said in late November 2010, “Nobody in Croatia can stop the fight against corruption anymore. Those trying to do so will be definitively swept off the political stage. Clearly a system of power in which the elite was untouchable is collapsing before our eyes.”

Promoting regional cooperation

The President has also made progress in promoting regional partnerships. On December 6, 2010, at a speech in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ivo Josipovic said, “Our region must embark on the path of peace and cooperation. Officials in all countries of the region have a special responsibility to lead it to reconciliation and EU membership.”

The president was in Banja Luka to receive a “Person of the Year” award from influential Bosnian Serb newspaper Nezavisne Novine. The newspaper’s Founder and Director, Zeljko Kopanja, explained at the awards ceremony that his editorial team decided to recognise the Croatian president for his positive contribution to relations among the former Yugoslav republics. He said, “Josipovic is the leader of a new generation of statesmen, without a history of war, someone who impresses with his education, calmness, smoothness, eloquence and willingness to cooperate.” He also praised the Croatian President for opening a path towards resolving key issues involving housing and the return of refugees from Croatia to Republika Srpska.

In December, Ivo Josipovic commented on Croatia’s new openness to Serbia and highlighted the importance of regional ties among smaller nations. He said, “There will be no more political obstruction to Croatia’s economic cooperation with Serbia. We can both succeed in the global market if we cooperate; otherwise, our little economies will have to compete with the better developed economies of bigger countries.”