The Centre for Civic Education (CCE) points out that since the adoption of the Law on Montenegrin citizenship in 2008 until mid-March 2020, a total of 258 persons were awarded with Montenegrin citizenship, but this process remains non-transparent and questionable in terms of consistent complience with law.
Five years ago, the CCE published a report «Honorary citizenships – awarded to whom and how?» in which, amongst other, lists the names of 203 persons who were awarded with honorary citizenship until the beginning of July 2015. Thereafter, we published 14 additional names, and then a list of another 33 persons concluding with August 2018. In the meantime, we got the information for another two persons in 2019 and six persons in 2020.
Out of total of 100 possible points, according to the indicators of the research conducted by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE), the average mark of transparency of Montenegrin municipalities for 2019 is 40.76 points. The two most transparent municipalities – Podgorica and Bijelo Polje – have a bit less than three-fifths of the possible points, or 58 points. That indicates that Montenegrin municipalities need to work much more to improve transparency of their work, as concluded in the Transparency Index of Montenegrin Municipalities published by the CCE.
On the occasion of the Europe Day, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) is using the opportunity to raise concerns about slow progress of Montenegro towards united Europe. This is supported by more strict and negative assessments in relevant international reports, but also by actual dynamics of the Montenegrin accession negotiations with EU.
The accession negotiations started on 29 June 2012, in accordance with the so-called new approach which focuses on the rule of law. Within the course of the first seven years, i.e. concluding with 2019, Montenegro has completed 32 out of 33 negotiation chapters, whereas only three have been temporarily closed – 25 (Science and Research), 26 (Education and Culture), and 30 (External relations). It should be noted that for two out of those three chapters there is no acquis communautaire, and that for one of these chapters only one action plan should have been adopted. Even though Montenegrin officials have repeatedly announced, Brussels has still not sent closing benchmarks for chapters 23 (Judiciary and fundamental rights) and 24 (Justice, freedom and security) which indicates that Montenegrin authorities have not done their undertaken homework. Within 28 negotiation chapters, limited progress has been noted, and during one year number of chapters with good progress have decreased.
In the CCE’s study First seven years of Montenegrin negotiations with the EU, we provided an overview of political and economic aspects of negotiations which are influencing the fact that Montenegro is already negotiating longer from average of all countries that joined the EU in last enlargement rounds.
On the occasion of 3 May – World Press Freedom Day, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) wants to congratulate all media, media associations and journalists on this day. The role of professional and responsible media in covering crisis situations, such as the COVID-19 epidemic, is of particular importance. Therefore, this date is an additional opportunity to reiterate numerous challenges faced by media and journalists, as well as recommendations for improvement of the current poor state of affairs.
The CCE recently published annual report on the state of affairs within the media field - Media in Montenegro – between the stranglehold of power and the struggle for profession. Unfortunately, the key problems have already become chronic, and these refer to hard censorship i.e. cases of attacks on journalists and their impunity, soft censorship that jeopardizes the financial sustainability of the media, self-censorship, lack of implementation within the legislative framework and practice of self-regulation and regulation, as well as party take-over of the public broadcaster RTCG. These problems have been confirmed by the latest report of the Reporters Without Borders, according to which Montenegro continues its decline, and they have been also elaborated many times in the Montenegrin public.
The Agency for Electronic Media (AEM) reacted yesterday to an analysis of the Centre for Civic Education (CCE), accusing the CCE of publicising ‘series of false and unfounded assessments of the AEM’s work’. Thereby, precisely, only three allegedly incorrect and unsubstantiated assessments are listed, which are all unfounded.
The first of our allegedly “untrue and unfounded” assessments, according to the reaction of AEM’s Public Relations and General Affairs Department, ‘is that two cable TV stations (Happy TV and Pink M), with headquarters in Serbia, are sanctioned because they have severely attacked the Montenegrin authorities in their programmes for passing the Law on Freedom of Religion and that it was the result of a direct political influence on AEM decisions’.