Big ambitions yet modest effects

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) points to the fact that numerous plans and programmes, developed in the process of accession of Montenegro to the EU, are ambitiously conceived and often out of realistic possibilities, whereas the effects of their implementation are chronically absent. At the same time, none bears responsibility, which brings further concern to the seriousness of commitment of authorities to work towards democratization and Europeanization of the Montenegrin society.

The revision, or examination of the accuracy, comprehensiveness, legality and objectiveness of the most important strategic document in the negotiation process with the EU – Programme of the accession of Montenegro to the EU for the period 2014 -2018 – just ten months after its adoption and public presentation, indicates that those who were responsible in the Government have not planned within realistic framework, and did not invest adequate efforts to implement the Programme. This document is supposed to enable faster, clearer and more operational monitoring and coordination of activities by all participants in the negotiation process, as well as to demonstrate the readiness and maturity of the institutions of the system to fulfill its commitments within the set deadlines. However, already less than a year since the start of its application, it is clear that the results are very modest.

The document itself presents a detailed plan of activities, plans, commitments, with clearly defined deadlines and institutions in charge, all within the context of the harmonization of legislation with the acquis communautaire. Constructional error of the document is also setting unrealistic deadlines, which ultimately led to the current situation, as well. Specifically, the dynamics of implementation of activities by the authorities, so far, is extremely concerning. In the first quarter of 2014, from a total of 321 laws and bylaws 159 were implemented (only 50%). Also, from 50 strategic documents, 24 were implemented (48%). The situation is even worse when you look at the official data for the second quarter of 2014, which are indicating that of the 121 regulations 25 were implemented (21%), while out of the 8 planned strategic documents only 1 was passed.

Moreover, under Chapter 23, as the key one in the negotiation process, from 7 planned activities within the Program of accession, from the beginning of the year until today, only 2 were implemented.

When one looks at the data in the implementation of activities in terms of preparing regulations for all 33 negotiation chapters, from 121 planned documents in the second quarter of 2014, only 25 (20%) were implemented, while in the strategic framework the results are even worse – from 8 planned documents only 1 is adopted, in the framework of WG in all negotiating chapters.

These data substantiated raise questions as follows: Is Montenegro essentially devoted to the process of accession to the EU or that commitment begins and ends in the nice daily – political rhetoric? Whether these effects point to a serious lack of administrative capacity for the implementation of the set of activities, or to the lack of coordination between the relevant institutions?

In the end, the question is: why are financial sources necessary for the successful implementation of the activities missing, if political will exists for this document to be applied? The harmonization of legislation with the acquis, and in particular the full and proper implementation requires the provision of substantial financial resources. To be feasible, this document must contain firstly the analysis of necessary funds to finance the activities and precise sources of funding, which is unfortunately not the case. So, the public remains deprived of information about the capacity of Montenegro to finance these activities from the Budget, as well as about other possible sources of funding and absorption power of the state to withdraw these funds.

Bearing in mind these previous effects, the CCE finds that it is not enough just to revise the Accession program. Namely, the CCE considers that it is necessary to reconsider the complete system of the existing negotiation structure, examine the achievements and in comparison to the achieved results take specific measures, which will contribute to the creation of a real platform and realistic assessment of the capacity for leadership of character and dynamics of the negotiation process.

Ana Vujošević, programme coordinator