The CCE welcomes with great satisfaction the news that the screening reports for negotiation chapters 23 (Judiciary and fundamental rights), 24 (Justice, freedom and security) and 25 (Science and research), were made available on the website of the European Commission and calls for active engagement of Montenegrin authorities for prompt translation of these documents into Montenegrin language, thus making them available for wider public in Montenegro.
The screening reports are key documents produced by the European Commission at the end of the explanatory and bilateral meetings. In the format available to the public, they present the country degree in alignment with EU acquis, the implementing capacity and provide recommendations for further steps. They also contain the assessment of EU countries on the country’s capacity regarding each chapter: this part, however, is and remains strictly confidential. The parts available to the public, however, have been long kept only as internal and confidential documents within EU and Montenegrin institutions, since they were produced in November 2012 and delivered only to the state officials in Montenegrin working groups and institutions in December of the same year. Until now, no words came from these institutions regarding the content of these screening reports, which is not a good message in terms of the transparency of this significant process.
Montenegrin media published last week some insights of the screening reports on chapter 23 and 24, when this hadn’t been publicised yet, thus underlining the gap in the transparency and information procedure to Montenegrin public of the assessment of the European Union on Montenegro and on the steps the country must take for the opening of the mentioned chapter.
Now that the screening reports are accessible, in their part available for public usage, CCE estimates it is of outmost importance that the Montenegrin institutions actively proceed to their translation into Montenegrin language, thus guaranteeing wider access to information by the public and increasing the overall level of transparency of the process in due course. As mentioned many times by several sides, the process of EU integration of the country is not and cannot be understood as a top-down process carried on only by institutions, but citizens of the country must be informed and kept update on the progress in this regard. Availability of information and official documents in both language, English and Montenegrin, is, therefore, essential.
Chiara Gaia Iascone, Programme Associate