Corruption is embedded in Croatian society at school where children who cheat in tests are celebrated as “heroes”, the country’s president has said.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is leaving her position in February following an election loss, said corrupt practices could be found throughout Croatian society but began in the classroom.
Those who did well were routinely described as “eager beavers”, the president told reporters at a press conference in Zagreb, while “those who have prepared so as to cheat on the test are heroes”.
“This is where corruption starts, on the children,” Grabar-Kitarović said. “They look for ways how to get around the system – and it is not contained to politics. It is much better than it used to be. But it is not just politics.”
Last month the former Croatian prime minister Ivo Sanader, within whose government Grabar-Kitarović was a minister, was sentenced to six years in jail, after being found guilty of taking a €10m (£8.5m) bribe in exchange for giving a Croat oil firm a large stake in a newly privatised energy company.
Grabar-Kitarović said she had been cut out of major government decisions during her time in Sanader’s administration and as a result had no idea of his personal corruption.
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