Željko Jovanović (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL) Željko Jovanović (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL)

The government says the bill, which is expected to go into effect on July 1st, sends a message that corruption will not be tolerated. At the same time, the opposition says the government is losing the fight against corruption - noting Croatia's low ranking on Transparency International's latest corruption perception index.

The SDP's Željko Jovanović sparred with Josip Salapić, the state secretary at the Ministry of Justice, over the merits of the bill and subsequent funding.

"It's very important for citizens who wish to report corruption to be protected - and this legislation, in large part, does just that. At the same time, 200 thousand kunas allotted to the Ombudsman for a five-month period this year, and the same amount budgeted for the next two years, is not enough. It would be logical to allocate at least twice that amount," said Jovanović.

Secretary Salapić retorted that Jovanović, the Chairman of parliament's National Council for Monitoring Anti-Corruption Strategy Implementation, should be patient with regards to seeking extra funding.

"When the law comes into force, we will see if more money for the Ombudsman's office is necessary. We believe that for now - and you should know this since you're the chairman of the anti-corruption council - more money is not necessary until we see the primary impact of this law," he said.

Source: HRT