Cooperation between the NGOs and Parliament should be regulated by rules of procedure

Center for Development of NGOs (CRNVO), Centre for Civic Education (CCE) and Institute Alternative (IA) will not sign the proposed agreement on cooperation with the Parliament of Montenegro, which came as an initiative from the president of Parliament, Darko Pajović.

Namely, CRNVO, CCE and IA assess that the agreement, as legally non-binding act, nowadays does not represent the basis for further cooperation between the two sectors. Such general agreement would have made sense several years ago, when it was necessary to demonstrate good will for the cooperation between Parliament and NGOs, as well as the opening of legislative body in relation to civic society. Neither side could have been particularly satisfied with the outcomes of that agreement since the effects of its implementation remained limited, but it did present the first step towards the establishment of institutional relation between the Parliament and NGOs.

As previous several years saw some progress in the creation of legal framework for the cooperation of NGOs and Government, NGOs and local self-governments, we believe that Parliament of Montenegro is prepared for a substantial institutional breakthrough in the same direction. Hence, agreement is today, within this framework, an outdated model which is why we suggested a systematic solution of cooperation between the Parliament and NGOs through the intervention on Rules of procedure of Parliament of Montenegro.

Unfortunately, laws are hardly applied in Montenegro. Logically, we have reasons to fear that a general agreement, without any binding norm as the one which is being suggested, would be yet another one of those «display» documents of Parliament of Montenegro for various reports and stakeholders, and that it would not yield any essential change in the cooperation with NGO sector.

CRNVO, CCE and IA have previously experienced the consequences of legally unfounded decisions of working bodies of Parliament, especially in the processes of election and appointment, as well as the ignorance of MPs and of the President to rectify those decisions. This led us all the more to believe that good will for the cooperation with NGO sector, if there is any at all, must be translated in more specific forms than the agreement on cooperation.

CRNVO, CCE and IA have proposals in the direction of amendments of Rules of procedure of Parliament of Montenegro. Should this suggestion to formalise the cooperation end up being adopted, we will be prepared to contribute through the proposal of amendments of Rule of procedure and to improve the quality of relations between the Parliament and NGO sector on such basis

Ana Novaković, Center for Development of NGOs (CRNVO)
Stevo Muk, Institute Alternative (IA)
Daliborka Uljarević, Centre for Civic Education (CGO)