Parliament and civil society in the Southeast Europe: partners or opponents?

Daliborka Uljarević, executive director of the Centre for Civic education (CCE) today had a presentation in Cavtat, at the international conference «Parliament and civil society in the Southeast Europe: partners or opponents? » which was organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Session «Civil society and politics in the Southeast Europe» was opened by Dietmar Neitan, member of the Bundestag and one of the leading officials of the German SDP and Peđa Grubin, President of the Committee on the Constitution, Rules of Procedure and Political System of the Croatian Parliament, with the introduction of Dragica Vujadinović, from the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade. After that, within this panel, the MEP-s and the members of the national parliaments in Germany, Greece, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria spoke and Uljarević was the only one representative of the civil society from the region. She presented environment in which NGO in Montenegro operates, focusing on the legislative framework and impact on public policy, as well as relations with the Parliament, the Government and the political parties. Furthermore, she particularly referred to the practical state of affairs in which NGO-s in Montenegro have extremely high level of trust among the citizens, but also are exposed to the more and more intensive pressure from the authorities. Uljarević stressed that the pressure on critically oriented NGOs has been intensified since the last return to power of Milo Đukanović, as well as that now there are well documented cases of abuse of the institutions and other subjects financed from the public funds for the purpose of the clash with political opponents. The MEPs and the members of the national parliaments expressed a high level of interest for the situation of the civil sector in Montenegro is and concerns in regard to the presented examples of pressure.

Beside the MEPs and MP of national parliaments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Kosovo, Germany, Romania and Turkey the conference gathered participants of the academic community from Austria, Serbia and Croatia, then from Regional Cooperation Council and a representative of the NGO sector in Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the three-day long conference, four panels were organized: «Where does the region go? The recent trends and recent developments in the Southeast Europe», «Civil society and politics in the Southeast Europe», «Formal and non-formal interaction and cooperation of the parliaments and civil society in the Southeast Europe» and «The messages of the protest movements to the politicians and parties in the Southeast Europe».

Svetlana Pešić, Programme Associate