Davor Huić (left), president of Lipa, accepts the 2018 Europe Liberty Forum from Atlas Network CEO Brad Lips.
Lipa – Croatian Taxpayers’ Association has won Atlas Network’s 2018 Europe Liberty Award for its successful campaign against the introduction of property taxes in Croatia (link in Croatian). Lipa’s campaign against the introduction of property taxes in Croatia – which already has one of the highest tax burdens in the EU – gathered over 145,000 signatures on a petition against the proposed taxes.
"The training from Atlas Network sharpened our strategic thinking," said Davor Huić, president of Lipa. "Without this training we wouldn't have made such efficient use of our scarce resources ... We managed to stop the tax, but we also managed to change the way Croatians think about taxation."
The project launched a petition in April 2017 that gathered signatures and emails to foster further interaction with its supporters. The petition was mentioned by many national major media outlets, and over 140,000 signatures were gathered online with 6,000 gathered offline, making it the second most successful online initiative in the history of Croatian democracy [link in Croatian]. More than 4 percent of adult Croatian citizens signing the petition (total number of citizens older than 18 in Croatia is around 3.5 million).
"Stopping the real estate tax in Croatia was a huge success for civil society; it was the first time ever that citizens prevented the government from raising the tax overall burden in the country,” continued Huić. “But perhaps even more importantly, we have created a popular climate in which it is politically very difficult, if not outright impossible, to increase the level of taxation in Croatia."
Lipa’s campaign successfully combined grassroots activism, research, and public education, and it considers the successful delay of the introduction of property taxes one of the most significant victories of Croatian civil society in the history of its democracy (link in Croatian).