Centre for Civic Education (CCE) notes that there is a need for establishing accountability of highest state officials of the Government of Montenegro for unduly or complete non-fulfillment of obligations from the Government Work Programme for 2013. It is not known to public whether during the adoption of the Government Work Programme for 2014 there was any substantial discussion on determining accountability for what has not been done in 2013, but these areas were just copied in new Government Work Programme, with few language corrections. Furthermore, there was no discussion on quality of what has been done, although clearly some of the obligations were done so poorly that they must be done once again already this year.
By the Government Work Programme for 2013 total of 217 obligations has been planned, systematized in two groups: Priorities and Other obligations. Under Priority obligations there were 59 obligations, 42 of which are in the area of economic policy and financial system, and 17 in the area of political system, internal and foreign policies. Other obligations included Thematic and Normative Section. In the Thematic section there were 74 obligations, out of which 46 in the area of economic policy and financial system and 28 in in the area of political system, internal and foreign policies. In the Normative Section there was total of 84 obligations, 64 of which in the area of economic policy and financial system, and 20 in the area of political system, internal and foreign policies.
In the Government Work Programme for 2014 obligations are systematized differently, which makes it difficult for comparison and evaluation of fulfillment of the previous ones. Thus for this year, the Government has predicted monitoring of 23 priority development projects, with 261 obligations from Thematic and Normative Section. There is total of 148 obligations in Thematic Section, 38 of which are in the area of political system, internal and foreign policies and 110 in the area of economic policy and financial system. There are 113 obligations in the Normative Section, 38 of which are in the area of political system, internal and foreign policies and 75 in the area of economic policy and financial system.
By reading these two documents, the existence of a significant number of transferred obligations becomes evident, which were supposed to be completed in 2013. Among more than 50 such arrears or nearly 25% of last year’s Programme, which has not been implemented, and for which it is not known whether anyone was held responsible in the Government, are also some of key issues of the negotiation process, which should represent a priority of the Government of Montenegro in which it should prove itself the most, precisely through implementation of those commitments. Unfortunately, failures are enormous also in a quantitative sense.
The largest number of obligations was transferred in 2014 by the Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Finance (10 obligations each one of them). Having in mind problems that Montenegro needs to deal with it is indicative that the Ministry of Finance did not make an adequate effort to, for example, complete the Draft Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (obligation that needed to be completed in accordance with recommendations of the MONEYVAL, the FATF newly adopted standards and the EU directives), and the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Public Procurement, especially having mind that it is precisely this area in the EC Progress Report 2013 underlined as particularly vulnerable to corruption activities. On the other side, it seems that the Ministry of Economy is not concerned about all problems of citizens regarding paying electricity bills, and it has estimated there is no haste for work on the Energy Development Strategy of Montenegro by 2030, and this obligations is merely copied in the Programme for 2014, instead of such document already being in force.
On the rank list of ministries that have not fulfilled their obligations leads also the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which has failed to do at least seven important obligations in 2013, such as Draft Law on Food Safety, Draft Law on Olive Growing etc, while even the quality of some that were done is questionable. For example, the Parliament of Montenegro in December 2013 has adopted the Law on Organic Production, based on the Government proposal, while the same needed to be urgently changed already this year, in the first quarter, as stated in the Government Work Programme for 2014!
The Ministry of Interior follows, which among at least six important obligations, has not done the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Local Self-Government, while precisely 80% of the EU legislation is directly or indirectly related to the local level. Furthermore, the Draft Law on General Administrative Procedure, which should introduce a significant reform in administrative procedure, has not even come to the Parliament from this Ministry.
Although the EC expresses particular concern about corruption in urban and spatial planning, it was not enough for the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism to perceive as its priority the issue of Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Spatial Planning and Construction. Of course, in addition to absence of this legal text, this Ministry has, in 2014, transferred at least three more commitments. The Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Ministry of Science and Ministry of Education, as well as the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Ministry of Culture have started their work in 2014 with one to three key arrears. However, the fact is that there are legal texts that are not in the Government Work Plan for 2014, which were rejected by the Parliament, thus they too are included in negative result of individual ministries. For example, Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms, which the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights has prepared, and thus “checked” its obligation, even though the same did not pass at parliamentary committees last week!
The CCE appeals for establishment of accountability system at the highest levels of Government so that responsibilities will be carried out in accordance with the Government Work Programme, and for objective assessment of possibilities for implementation of the same. It is obvious that such an assessment was not made in accordance with existing capacities of the Government, but there is also enough space to doubt existence of political will for reforms that carry sacrifices for decision-makers. The CCE notes that, in addition to this quantitative view, which is illustrative, it is the quality of legislation adopted and commitments implemented that is however far more concerning.
Svetlana Pešić, Programme Associate