Croatia on Tuesday asked for EUR 42 million of international funding to help it reform its judicial system in line with European Union criteria.
The EU hopeful presented its reform proposal to ambassadors from the EU, the United States, Australia, Canada and Japan as well as representatives of the United Nations and the World Bank.
Justice Minister Ivan Simonovic said the funds, worth USD 55 million, were for projects including court-house rationalisation and information technology improvements.
He added that "in times of economic crisis and recession, this aid is all the more precious."
Despite efforts to deal with a case-load backlog in the Balkans country, some 900,000 individual cases have still to be dealt with -- out of a population of just 4.4 million, Croatian Supreme Court judge Branko Hrvatin said.
Judicial reform is one of the essential pre-conditions towards EU accession. Zagreb has opened 22 out of 35 so-called policy chapters since starting negotiations in October 2005. It hopes to complete enlargement talks this year, which would set it on track to become the EU's 28th member in 2010 or 2011.