On the occasion of the 27 January – International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Centre for Civic Education (CCE) reminds about the importance of remembering millions of the Holocaust victims during the World War II, and the obligation of everyone in society to work together to strengthen those ideas that are directed against the hatred that led to the Holocaust, all in order to prevent new sufferings.
CCE particularly points to the significance of educating on the facts about crimes and other atrocities of the fascist ideology, that left permanent scars on the entire humanity. The CCE presented findings of a research “How much do students nowadays in Montenegro know about anti-fascist resistance in XX century in Montenegro, region and Europe?” on the International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism, 9 November 2017. Those findings indicate the necessity to work on the alteration of the history curriculum, but also on the improvement of history teaching, in order to enhance the current state and produce generations of youth who have knowledge of a significant historical period in which the anti-fascist movement was developed, the movement that set foundations for the modern democratic societies.
Due to factual omissions in the press release of the Ministry of Public Administration (MPA) to the statement of the NGO Coalition Cooperation to the Goal, regarding the adopted Strategy for improving the incentive environment for work of NGO 2018-2020, we feel obligated to inform the public on the following facts and to initiate direct questions to this department.
In this press release, the MPA states that representatives of the NGOs participated in drafting Strategy. We remind the public that the NGO representatives, who were primarily chosen to participate in the work of this body, left this working group, and no other calls for the NGO sector were announced. Therefore, the development of the document only started with the participation of the NGO, but the procedure was completed without their involvement. The document was in the initial phase when the NGO representatives left, and all key solutions were brought after that. If any NGO was involved in this process until the end, we call the MPA to publicly announce the name of the organisation.
When it comes to the participation in the public debate, which was also mentioned in the reaction of the MPA in the context of our influence on this document, we remind that the Coalition timely submitted comments as well as proposals for the formulation of specific measures during the public debate, in order to genuinly contribute to the improvement of this document. The Coalition does not deal with the wishlist of the NGO sector, but it assesses the needs of the sector that are contained in domestic and European documents, and in which we found the base for all our proposals. Only one proposal was essentially accepted. The Coalition did not state that all of our proposals must be brilliant and hence integrated into the document, but we pointed to the lack of key measures for the further development of the sector that are missing in the Strategy, and which are also contained in the European documents that the MPA refers to so much.
The adopted Strategy for improving the incentive environment for work of NGO 2018-2020 does not reflect the needs of non-governmental organisations in Montenegro. It represents one more document that the Government obviously created just for itself and for the needs of checking their obligations in the EU integration process.
Out of at least five key segments proposals, submitted by the non-governmental organisations during the public debate on the draft of the Strategy, aiming to improve this document, and which represent needs of the civil society, the Government accepted only one – that the Council for the development of the NGOs should not be integrated into the Council for the Reform of the Public Administration.
The Government managed to avoid to define the policy of the allocation of state premises and land to NGOs. The need for adequate addressing of this issue, and for prescribing precise conditions for the allocation of premises and land to NGOs, was recognised in the 2016 Report of the European Commission for Montenegro. The content of the Strategy only leaves the possibility for this issue to be resolved, but it doesn’t appear in the Action plan, therefore it is meaningless. The lack of transparent procedures in this area opens space for the Government to make discretionary decisions on which NGO should be provided land or premises, in regard to their political suitability.
Paradoxically, the Strategy that should support the development of the non-governmental sector does not contain any signle measure for strenghtening the capacities of non-governmental organisations. That is a clear statement of the Government that it does not need developed non-governmental organisations. The Strategy points that the Government does not want powerful civil society, but that it mostly plans to strenghten capacities of the civil servants for the cooperation with NGOs. With these measures and attitude towards NGOs, which don’t have the support to develop their capacities, following question emerges: with whom will the Government, i.e. civil servants, cooperate?
Citizens of Montenegro in majority assess that young people are in bad position when it comes to employment, as findings of research of the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) point out, which was conducted within the project ‘Knowledge and Skills for Job!’, with the aim to shed light on perception of position of youth and challenges which they are facing in the process of employment, but also a space for improvement of the existing state of affairs.
Namely, over ¾ of respondents (76%) estimates that status of youth concerning employment is rather or mostly bad, while only 2% considers that their position is in this regard rather good. Prevailing position is that situation in regards to employment has deteriorated in last five years, i.e. 45% of respondents believes so, with 33% thinking it is stagnating, while 17% assesses that there was progress, whereby citizens with basic or lower education express larger pessimism than others. Expectations that the process of European integration will lead to improvement of situation in the area of employment are by percent larger and present with 43% respondents, while 31% believes that it will remain the same, and 17% even believes it will deteriorate.
Connections and acquaintances are in the perception of citizens still the most important criterion on the basis of which employers hire, and only after it follow education references and competences. Assessments of preparedness of employers to employ young people are divided, and as causes of employers’ closeness to youth the most frequently are as follows: lack of work experience, mistrust of employers in capacities of youth, frivolity and insufficient dedication of youth, but also situation in the society such as lack of available work places, general crisis and highlighted phenomenon of employing on the basis of connections and political affiliation. Furthermore, citizens dominantly believe that state and state institutions are not doing enough to help young people during employment, while it is severe division per opinion on succesfulness of the vocational training of Government of Montenegro. Familiarity with institutions which conduct programmes of vocational training or professional counseling is generally low, and majority of citizens does not know of even one institution which conducts a programme of professional/career counseling.