Is the Government of Montenegro intentionally slowing down the European integration process?

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) has yesterday indicated to an extremely poor impact of implementation of the Programme of Montenegro’s accession to the European Union for the period 2014-2018. In this part, an analysis of the Report on implementation of commitments under this Programme, prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MFAEI) and adopted by the Government of Montenegro, also clearly lightens the weak spots in the system, when it comes to realization of undertaken commitments within the prescribed deadlines.

When considering per sectors, in the failure to meet the undertaken commitments within the legal framework, and especially having in mind scope of problems identified by the European Commission and competencies that it is covering, the leading is the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MIA), with only 11 realized of 53 planned laws and by-laws (namely the modest 20%). Insight into unrealized commitments shows that for the most part these are by-laws or ordinances, regulations, decisions. These by-laws do not establish new rights and obligations of subjects, but just elaborate and supplement them. Therefore, there is no rational explanation for the non-fulfillment of commitment, since these acts are being prepared at the level of ministry. In addition, it should be noted that their preparation is essential for proper implementation of numerous and important legal documents.

There aren’t any better results even at the level of the Ministry of Health, especially in the second quarter, where of total 10 undertaken commitments only 2 were realized.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MFAEI), of total 13 undertaken, has not implemented 12 activities. Almost all of the obligations are related to adoption of by-laws. What is a matter for concern in this case is the explanation. Specifically, it is stated that the enumerated by-laws may not be passed until the harmonization of proposal of a certain Law within Secretariat for Legislation shall be conducted, which is legally untenable. Namely, by-laws are being adopted with a purpose of a full implementation of laws in practice, so these acts can not be passed without adopted laws.

Furthermore, when taking a look at data in a total amount, the pace of implementation of undertaken commitments by all relevant institutions for 2014, in the legislative framework, is disturbing for two reasons. First of all, only 159 of 321 commitments were realized, i.e. somewhat less than 50%, with a clear tendency for decline in the second quarter, with only 25 of 121 or 20% of realized commitments. As for the strategic framework, the situation is almost identical. Percentage of fulfilled commitments is around 50%, whereas there is a significant decrease in dynamics of implementation that can be seen in the second quarter of 2014.

The aforementioned information is a serious sign of a certain of blockage in the fulfillment of commitments, particularly in the II quarter of 2014, which should be seriously analyzed before conducting a revision of an existing document.

CCE concludes that, by analyzing the abovementioned official data, there is fatigue and delay in the implementation of commitments undertaken by the competent authorities in the Montenegro’s path towards the EU, which raises the question of whether there is a conscious intent, namely a political decision, or it is an issue of lack of capacity? It is particularly problematic that this is happening in the practically early stages of the negotiation process, having in mind that serious and fundamental reforms are just impending.

Ana Vujošević, Programme Coordinator