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Croatia

Right to Access Information Legislative Framework (HR0010)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Not Attached

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Information, Information Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice

Support Institution(s): Information Commissioner, Ministry of Justice, Office of the National Security Council, Ministry of Labour and the Pension System

Policy Areas

Legislation & Regulation, Right to Information, Whistleblower Protections

IRM Review

IRM Report: Croatia End-of-Term Report 2014-2016, Croatia IRM Progress Report 2014-2015

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Amendments to the Act on the Right of Access to Information Implementation indicators: Adoption at the Government session of the Proposal of the Act on Amendments to the Act on the Right of Access to Information, in line with Directive 2013/37/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 amending Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information. Lead institutions: Ministry of Administration Supporting institutions: Information Commissioner Start date: Not specified, End date: July 2015. Legal regulation of records of exclusive rights to reuse Implementation indicators: adoption of implementing regulations (Ministry of Administration) drafted and publically available records of exclusive rights for re-use (Information Commissioner) Lead institutions: Ministry of Administration, Information Commissioner Supporting institutions: Not specified Start date: Not specified, End date: December 2015; Amendments to the Act on Data Confidentiality Implementation indicators: Adoption at the Government session of the Proposal of Amendments of the Act on Data Confidentiality which: outlines in detail the persons subject to application of the Act; further emphasises the importance of differentiating classified data from other types of confidentiality (business secrets, professional secrets, etc.); introduces centralised access to the manner of determining the criteria for data classification; clearly defines the definitions from this area, particularly in relation to unclassified data and declassification procedures; clearly defines cases in which the test of proportionality and public interest are carried out; introduction of revised rules for procedures of periodical assessments of degrees of confidentiality for classified data. Lead institutions: Ministry of Internal Affairs Supporting institutions: Ministry of Justice, Office of the National Security Council Start date: Not specified, End date: December 2015. Drafting the analysis of the legislative framework in the area of protecting whistleblowers Implementation indicators: Drafted analysis of the legislative framework for the protection of whistleblowers and pursuant to this, procedures initiated to amend existing acts or draft new acts. Version for comment: not for citation or publication 22 Lead institutions: Ministry of Justice Supporting institutions: Ministry of Labour and the Pension System Start date: Not specified, End date: 31 December 2014

IRM End of Term Status Summary

1. Right to Access Information Legislative Framework

Commitment Text:

1.1. Amendments to the Act on the Right of Access to Information  

Implementation indicators: Adoption at the Government session of the Proposal of the Act on Amendments to the Act on the Right of Access to Information, in line with Directive 2013/37/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 amending Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information.

Lead institutions: Ministry of Administration

Supporting institutions: Information Commissioner

Start date: Not specified...........    End date: July 2015

1.2. Legal regulation of records of exclusive rights to reuse  

Implementation indicators:

•  adoption of implementing regulations (Ministry of Administration)

•  drafted and publically available records of exclusive rights for re-use (Information Commissioner)

Lead institutions: Ministry of Administration, Information Commissioner

Supporting institutions: None specified

Start date: Not specified...........    End date: December 2015

1.3. Amendments to the Act on Data Confidentiality  

Implementation indicators: Adoption at the Government session of the Proposal of Amendments of the Act on Data Confidentiality which:

  • outlines in detail the persons subject to application of the Act;
  • further emphasises the importance of differentiating classified data from other types of confidentiality (business secrets, professional secrets, etc.);
  • introduces centralised access to the manner of determining the criteria for data classification;
  • clearly defines the definitions from this area, particularly in relation to unclassified data and declassification procedures;
  • clearly defines cases in which the test of proportionality and public interest are carried out;
  • introduction of revised rules for procedures of periodical assessments of degrees of confidentiality for classified data.

Lead institutions: Ministry of Internal Affairs

Supporting institutions: Ministry of Justice, Office of the National Security Council

Start date: Not specified...........    End date: December 2015

1.4. Drafting the analysis of the legislative framework in the area of protecting whistleblowers

Implementation indicators: Drafted analysis of the legislative framework for the protection of whistleblowers and pursuant to this, procedures initiated to amend existing acts or draft new acts.

Lead institutions: Ministry of Justice

Supporting institutions: Ministry of Labour and the Pension System

Start date: Not specified...........    End date: December 2014

Commitment Aim:

This commitment sought to strengthen access to information rights by amending existing legislation on access to information (milestone 1.1) and data confidentiality (milestone 1.3) and clarify regulations on rights to reuse data (milestone 1.2) and whistleblower protection (milestone 1.4).

Status

Midterm: Limited

1.1.  Amendments to the Act on the Right of Access to Information (complete)

1.2. Legal regulation of records of exclusive rights to reuse (limited)

The Ordnance on the Content and Manner of Keeping Records of Exclusive Rights to Reuse Information[Note 1: See more at http://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2016_03_20_582.html.%5D was adopted in March 2015. However, records on exclusive rights to reuse data were not issued and publically available in the foreseen period, since the identification of current contracts on exclusive rights is a long-term process that needs to be undertaken parallel with education on the right to information use and reuse by state bodies. For more information, please see the 2014–2015 midterm IRM report.

1.3. Amendments to the Act on Data Confidentiality (limited)

Since it is necessary to amend a number of other regulations (i.e., the content of the act must align with two related acts, the Information Security Act and the Safety Inspection Act) before full implementation can start, the IRM researcher found completion for this milestone to be limited. For more information, please see the 2014–2015 midterm IRM report.

1.4. Drafting the analysis of the legislative framework in the area of protecting whistleblowers (limited)

The Ministry of Justice has collected data about whistleblower cases in Croatia and opinions on their quality from the appropriate authorities and civil society organisations. However, the draft self-assessment[Note 2: The government draft self-assessment report was available for public consultations from 14 September 2016, at https://esavjetovanja.gov.hr/ECon/MainScreen?entityId=4011.%5Dreports that the input from public authorities and CSOs was not substantial enough for the Ministry of Justice to analyse. For more information, please see the 2014–2015 midterm IRM report.

End of term: Substantial

The implementation of milestone 1.2 is substantially completed. According to the draft self-assessment report, the adopted ordinance stipulates that all data on approval and verification of contracts granting the exclusive right to reuse are to be submitted to the information commissioner within 15 days of signing the contract. During the second year of implementation, the Commissioner’s Office has created a publicly available registry of all approved exclusive rights which will be available as a separate subpage on its website. In an interview with the IRM researcher, the information commissioner[Note 3: Interview conducted on 6 September 2016.] stated, however, that public authorities have not started submitting contracts on exclusive rights. While the effective legal provisions and Ordinance for exclusive rights to re-use were put in to place, collection of records of approved exclusive rights remained incomplete at end of the implementation period, due to the fact that the prerequisites for this are an analytical overview and an educational cycle, implemented by the State Public Administration School. The commissioner is planning to draft an analysis of the legal framework and implementation of open data during the fall in 2016 and will provide a guideline for state bodies for opening data and submitting contracts on exclusive rights. The same will be done for counties and larger cities in 2017. This is due to the fact that institutions can only fulfil their obligation by first identifying the databases and registers that could potentially have contracts on exclusive rights.

Based on government sources and media monitoring conducted by the IRM researcher, there was no further progress on the implementation of milestone 1.3. According to the Ministry of Judiciary, milestone 1.4 had limited completion in the second year of action plan implementation. However, the ministry prepared a draft version of the analysis and is awaiting consultations with state bodies and CSOs. The IRM researcher concurs with this assessment for the milestone.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Major

The protection of the right to access information is still a fairly new development in Croatia, the Law on Access to Information having been adopted in 2003, and it has undergone a significant strengthening before and during the implementation of the previous action plan. This commitment was moderately ambitious in comparison, intending to strengthen access to information rights by amending and clarifying the existing legislative framework. According to CSO representatives,[Note 4: Statements gathered at an event organised by the information commissioner on 28 September 2016. For more information, see the Methodological Note section and http://www.pristupinfo.hr/en/povjerenik-za-etiku/.%5D Croatia is now among the first five countries in the world when it comes to the quality of the legal framework regulating the right to access information. While doubts about the existence of political will—of past, current, and future governments—for implementation of that legal framework were raised, a representative from one of the leading CSOs, GONG[Note 5: The name originates as an acronym for „Građani organizirano nadgledaju glasanje“ (Citizens Organize to Supervise Elections).], called it “an opportunity for a breakthrough.” Also, the 2015 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Act on the Right of Access to Information shows an increased level of realisation of the legal provisions when compared to previous years.[Note 6: See the Croatian language version of the Annual Report on the Implementation of the Act on the Right of Access to Information at http://www.pristupinfo.hr/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/1-Izvje%C5%A1%C4%87e-o-provedbi-Zakona-o-pravu-na-pristup-informacijama-za-2015-finalno1.pdf.%5D For example, the 2015 annual report cites a slight increase in the percentage of freedom of information and reuse requests resolved in a timely manner (93.55% in 2015 compared to 92.8% in 2014) and a reduction in the overall number of pending requests (209 in 2015 versus 221 in 2014), despite a large backlog carried over from previous years.[Note 7: Ibid., p. 9–11.] However, the report identifies a dearth of qualified staff to handle requests as a continued obstacle to the full implementation of the law.[Note 8: Ibid., p. 9.] Since the first two milestones were the most ambitious, with 1.1 fully and 1.2 substantially implemented, their impact on government practice was major and marginal, respectively. This resulted in the government now being obliged to disclose more information, and in an improved manner. Yet, more work is required to ensure that records of exlusive rights are collected and displayed on the public registry. Overall, however, given that this commitment addresses a key aspect to ensuring access to information—the proper formulation of legislative guidelines—this commitment has had a major impact on opening government.

Carried forward?

The next action has not been drafted or released by the government in accordance with the OGP schedule. The IRM researcher suggests the following steps to reach a full completion of the unfinished milestones:

  • Amend the Data Confidentiality Act by including a commitment to amend all three relevant legislative acts in the next action plan as a single package, making sure that the the Interdepartmental Working Group, which is responsible for drafting the commitment, is open to participation from interested civil society organisations.
  • Complete the analysis of the legal framework for whistleblower protection as a prerequisite to either amending the existing legislation in order to improve the protection of whistleblowers or introducing a specific law for their protection. Also, create and disseminate a guide for citizens based on the completed analysis of existing legal provisions in order to provide structured and easily accessible information on the issue.

Croatia's Commitments

  1. Implementing Right to Information

    HR0026, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Fiscal Transparency

    HR0027, 2018, E-Government

  3. Political Finance Transparency

    HR0028, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Commercial Regulations of Companies Owning Local Governments

    HR0029, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  5. Transparency in NGO Project Finance

    HR0030, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Protection of Persons Reporting Corruption

    HR0031, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  7. Parliamentary Transparency

    HR0032, 2018, E-Government

  8. Media Regulations Framework

    HR0033, 2018, Civic Space

  9. Data Opening

    HR0034, 2018, E-Government

  10. Raising Awareness About Open Data

    HR0035, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Central State Portal

    HR0036, 2018, E-Government

  12. Public Consultations

    HR0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. Implementation of Anti-Corruption Policies by NGOs

    HR0038, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  14. Local and Regional Open Government

    HR0039, 2018, E-Government

  15. OGP Sustainability

    HR0040, 2018, Capacity Building

  16. Right to Access Information Legislative Framework

    HR0010, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Improving the Implementation of the Right of Access to Information Act

    HR0011, 2014, Capacity Building

  18. Starred commitment Proactive Release of Information and Opening Data

    HR0012, 2014, Capacity Building

  19. Fiscal Transparency

    HR0013, 2014, Capacity Building

  20. Starred commitment Improvements of Transparency and Efficiency in Public Administration Work

    HR0014, 2014, Capacity Building

  21. Improvement of Transparency of Election and Referendum Campaigns

    HR0015, 2014, E-Government

  22. Transparency in the Area of Youth Policy

    HR0016, 2014, E-Government

  23. Media Transparency

    HR0017, 2014, Civic Space

  24. Improving Transparency of Information on Members of Parliament and Their Work

    HR0018, 2014, Asset Disclosure

  25. Improving Transparency of Data on Assets of Officials

    HR0019, 2014, Asset Disclosure

  26. Starred commitment Improving the Consultation Process with the Interested Public in Legislative Procedures

    HR0020, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Ensuring the Sustainability of Values and Content of the OGP Initiative

    HR0021, 2014, Capacity Building

  28. Starred commitment Participation in Drafting the New Anti-Corruption Strategy

    HR0022, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  29. Regulation of Lobbying

    HR0023, 2014, Capacity Building

  30. Improving Efficiency of the Ministry of Interior's Complaints Commission

    HR0024, 2014, Justice

  31. Promoting Civil Participation in the Work of Civil Society Organizations

    HR0025, 2014, Civic Space

  32. Improving the Content and Transparency of Budgetary Documents: Publish and Update the State Budget Proposal

    HR0001, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  33. Improving Transparency of Business Activity of the Companies of Special State Interest

    HR0002, 2012, Private Sector

  34. Making the Contents of All Budgetary Documents Understandable and Accessible to Citizens

    HR0003, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  35. Improving Accessibility of Local Budget Contents to the Citizens and the Public: Give Recommendations to Local Units to Publish Budget Documents

    HR0004, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  36. Starred commitment Improving the Legislative Framework for Exercising the Right of Access to Information: Amend the Act on the Right of Access to Information

    HR0005, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  37. Starred commitment Improving Access to Information on Expending Public Resources and Contents of Relevant Registers: Implementation of Acts on Political Activity and Campaign Financing

    HR0006, 2012, Civic Space

  38. Ensuring Transparent Work of Public Authority Bodies in the Service of Exercising Citizen Rights: Enhancement of Web Portal with Info on Exercising Rights

    HR0007, 2012, E-Government

  39. Starred commitment Setting up a System of Participatory Drafting and Monitoring of State and Local Budget Implementation: Public Discussions on Budget Allocation

    HR0008, 2012, Participation in Budget Processes

  40. Starred commitment Improving the Practice of Consulting the Interested Public in Procedures of Adopting New Laws: Amend Procedural Rules

    HR0009, 2012, E-Government