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In modern society, lobbying has become an indispensable factor in public policy making, and consequently an indispensable part of the democratic process.

In order to demystify the issue of lobbying and eliminate negative connotations around lobbying activities, it was necessary, in the framework of legislative activities, to provide a comprehensive insight into this area and to set clear rules.

An important step forward in the development of anti-corruption policy and preventive action is the adoption of the Lobbying Act, which was adopted by the Croatian Parliament on 14 March 2024. Croatian legislation now regulates lobbying for the first time as a legal and legitimate activity with clear principles, rights, obligations and sanctions in line with international standards, guidelines and recommendations of GRECO and the OECD, as well as the EU Transparency Register.

The Lobbying Act is part of the activities implemented by the Ministry of Justice, Public Administration and Digital Transformation in the framework of the Anti-Corruption Strategy 2021-2030.

Lobbying and lobbyists

By legal definition, lobbying is any form of oral or written communication to a lobbied person as part of a structured and organised promotion, advocacy or representation of specific interests or the transmission of information relating to public decision-making for the purpose of pursuing the interests of the beneficiaries of lobbying.

Public decision-making means the preparation, development and adoption of laws, other regulations or general acts as well as other strategic or planning documents by legislative or executive authorities, state administration bodies, other state bodies, bodies of local or regional self-government units, including their administrative bodies, or by other legal persons and bodies vested with public powers.

It is therefore about influencing political decision-makers to support specific interests. Lobbying may involve communicating with politicians, officials and other persons involved in the decision-making process to convey information, exert pressure or advocate for specific policies or a particular interest.

There are activities in public and political life that are not considered lobbying. Such activities are acknowledged by the law as exceptions. They include, for example, public consultations, referendums, petitions or citizens’ initiatives, various forms of public communication, disclosure of information, views and opinions in the media, and various forms of social and other dialogue.