New Law on Associations was adopted on June 6 2014 on Croatian Parliament session. The Law will enter into force on October 1st 2014. Within 60 days (on December 1st 2014) the minister of Administration will adopt the Regulation addressing the content of the Register of Association and within 90 days (on January 1st 2015), the Government of the Republic of Croatia will accept the Act, proposed by the Office for Cooperation with NGOs, that will regulate the criteria, standards and procedures of financing and contracting programs and projects of interest for public good that are implemented by associations.
With the Regulation in force, the “Code of good practice, standards and criteria for provision of financial support for programs and projects of associations” (Official Gazette, 16/2007) will no longer apply.
The new Law on Associations was adopted after long public discussion that started in February 2012 with consultations on challenges in ten year long implementation of the Law on Associations. Results of the consultation showed a number of deficiencies in existing laws that made the operation of associations difficult. Lack of clear provisions on managing association and its bodies, joining of associations in alliances, membership, assembly, respecting the principle of democratic representation and democratic expression of the will of its members in reference to internal organization of the association, acquisition and distribution of assets and performing economic activities economic activities in practice often led to different interpretations and unequal applications of the Law’s provisions. Further on, imprecise provisions on supervision and also too complex process of liquidation and deletion of associations from the Register of Associations, result in almost 51 400 registered associations and only few hundreds deleted in ten years since the Registry was established, which surely doesn’t reflect the real situation.
New Law on Associations puts great emphasis on transparency and public operation of associations and also envisages that the new Registry of Associations, with statute and other information on activities of associations, will enable access to the reports on financial transactions of associations with required documentation. It is expected that higher level of transparency will enable quality supervision of members over the activities of associations, enabling protection of their rights and legal interests.
With the adoption of the Lay on Associations, substantial advances are made in normative framework for the activities of associations in Republic of Croatia, achieving the requirements from National Strategy for the Creation of an Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development 2012-2016.
It should be noted that associations are obligated to harmonize their statutes with this Law within a year from its entry into force and to submit the request for changes to the authorized office
(until October 1st 2014). Also, all procedures that are started up to entry into force of this Law, October 1st 2014, will continue and finish according to the provisions of the applicable Law on Associations (Official Gazette 88/2001 and 11/2002).