29th Mar 2023

Murder of Croatian reporter undermines EU hopes

Following the killing of a prominent investigative reporter, Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader has vowed to put a stop to mafia-style attacks in order to save the country's EU bid.

"There will be no obstacles because Croatia will deal with crime, mafia and terrorism," Mr Sanader said after an emergency session of national security council on Friday (24 October), according to a report in the Financial Times newspaper.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Dubrovnik. Organised crime remains a scourge in Croatia (Photo: European Commission)

"From now on, no criminal can sleep calmly," he added, pledging to introduce "extraordinary mobilisation measures," details of which should be announced later this week.

The statement came after Ivo Pukanic and Niko Franjic, who both worked for an influential newspaper, Nacional, were killed by an explosive device placed near their car in Zagreb. Mr Pukanic, a 47-year old investigative journalist, had previously faced a murder attempt.

Earlier in October, the daughter of a prominent lawyer was shot dead in a stairwell - an event that led to the dismissal of the interior and justice ministers as well as the head of the national police.

The presence of organised crime is damaging the Croatia's EU bid, with the European parliament's rapporteur on Croatia, Hannes Swoboda, describing the latest murder as "a shock that pushes Croatia back in its ambitions to become a member of the EU."

"The government must succeed in its efforts to bring about order and so eliminate the apathy demonstrated in these last few months and years, or there will be no early entry for Croatia into the EU," he warned, according to AFP.

EU-Croatia accession talks were launched in 2005. The country is hoping to finalise them next year and become the EU's 28th member by 2011 at the latest.

The country's president, Stipe Mesic, also admitted that Zagreb faced "an unprecedented challenge from criminal circles. Now it is them or us ...rule of law and the safety of citizens versus criminals, terrorists and mafia."

The European Commission, for its part, "strongly" condemned the criminal attack, expressing trust that the Croatian authorities would "duly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice".

EU not tackling corruption in east, say justice experts

The EU should use the most of its pre-accession leverage in pushing countries to reform and deliver results in the fight against corruption and organised crime before they join the club, not to repeat the experience of Romania and Bulgaria, who are still struggling with these issues two years after accession, a panel of European justice experts told a conference in the European Parliament.

MEPs press EU Commission over Qatari-paid business-class flights

Pro-transparency MEPs are asking probing questions into possible conflict of interest between a senior EU commission official and Qatar, following revelations his business class trips were paid by Doha while negotiating a market access deal for its national airline.


Biden's 'democracy summit' poses questions for EU identity

From the perspective of international relations, the EU is a rare bird indeed. Theoretically speaking it cannot even exist. The charter of the United Nations, which underlies the current system of global governance, distinguishes between states and organisations of states.


Turkey's election — the Erdoğan vs Kılıçdaroğlu showdown

Turkey goes to the polls in May for both a new parliament and new president, after incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided against a post-earthquake postponement. The parliamentary outcome is easy to predict — the presidential one less so.

Latest News

  1. EU approves 2035 phaseout of polluting cars and vans
  2. New measures to shield the EU against money laundering
  3. What does China really want? Perhaps we could try asking
  4. Dear EU, the science is clear: burning wood for energy is bad
  5. Biden's 'democracy summit' poses questions for EU identity
  6. Finnish elections and Hungary's Nato vote in focus This WEEK
  7. EU's new critical raw materials act could be a recipe for conflict
  8. Okay, alright, AI might be useful after all

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality
  6. Promote UkraineInvitation to the National Demonstration in solidarity with Ukraine on 25.02.2023

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us