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"Open Croatia" Conference held in Zagreb

"Open Croatia" Conference, organized by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and by the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs, was held in Zagreb on 26 March 2014. Discussions were conducted on the status of transparency in the Republic of Croatia, present progress of implementation of the "Open Government Partnership" Initiative, as well as on the measures and activities for the Initiative implementation until 2016. Among other participants, there were Ivo Josipović, the President of the Republic of Croatia, Željko Jovanović, Minister of Science, Education and Sports, and Joško Klisović, Deputy Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and President of the Government of the Republic of Croatia Council of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). "Society that is not ready for openness will be a society of stagnation", Josipović said. He also warned that many investors talking to him, "despair over the irrationality of procedures" they are faced with when applying for various permits. "Archives and databases in state administration have to be functional, not serving as aggregations of useless data, since that is the modern state", he said. The Initiative is a strong instrument in fight against corruption, which is, Josipović stated, evidenced by current judicial proceedings, regardless of the verdict. Corruption will never be completely eradicated, but the public and government attitudes towards corruption have been significantly changed. "No one is able to change the trend that corruption is not welcome", he pointed out. The conference was moderated by Joško Klisović, who stressed that OGP fosters reforms with a view to enhancing government's transparency and accountability. "The government is not an end in itself, but it exists to manage public affairs for the sake of the citizens", he pointed out. Minister Jovanović emphasizes that "the open government" is one of the frames we have to ensure if we want the society to be "the society of equal opportunities", and education of citizens is one of the ways to achieve it. Deputy Minister of Public Administration Jagoda Botički reported on creation of Strategy of public administration development for the period from 2013 to 2020, which will be put on public discussion in April. The purpose of Strategy is to ensure citizens a modern, open and service state administration. OGP is a unique international initiative that promotes reforms with the aim of achieving more open and more accountable government, through cooperation between governments and civil society. OGP was launched in 2011 in the margins of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, by US President Barack Obama, and the number of participating countries has since raised to 63. The Republic of Croatia became the OGP member on 2011 and has therewith took over the obligation of creation and implementation of the Action plan that implies a number of measures and activities in the field of government transparency and openness. 

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