Government of continuity in relation to critically oriented civil society

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) expresses its disappointment at the refusal of Prime Minister Duško Marković to establish system of personalized responsibility within the system of Government, as evidenced also by refusal of the Initiative of CCE that the should Prime Minister issue a decision binding heads of state administration that all the information, press releases and information of any content that they want to communicate to the public, must be signed by an authorized official, head of the department, sector, or the head of the organ himself/herself.

Response that CCE received from the Prime minister’s cabinet, more than a month after submitting the initiative, signed by the Head of the cabinet Dragoljub Bulatović, is extremely contradictory and points to several important indicators of relation of new Prime minister towards civil society, but also towards establishment of long-forgotten institute of accountability in the Montenegrin governing system.

It is clear from the responses that CCE Initiative has not been carefully considered since the CCE pointed to concrete and continuous problem in practice, which is not adequately addressed in the system itself.

Article 96 of Law on Public Administration is quoted in the response, which provides that “the state administration bodies are obliged to appoint a person to provide reports, information and data on performance of duties of the state administration, and that civil officials who are authorized to prepare relevant reports, information and data personally are responsible for their accuracy and timeliness. And precisely this Article indicates that it is a logical and legal sequence of actions that reports, information and data on the performance of duties must be signed by a certain (authorized) person who forms them and prepare them for publication, otherwise it can not be determined the personal responsibility for their accuracy and timeliness, upon which CCE insisted.

The Prime minister’s Head of cabinet, referring to provisions of the Law on Public Administration, directly recognizes the justification of the Initiative, but at the same time dismisses the same. CCE has in its initiative documentatively proved that this Article of the Law is not being applied in its entirety, and that it needs to be strenghtened in the form of a decision of the Prime Minister, which is also in line with the promises of the Prime Minister’s exposé.

From all aforementioned, CCE with regret states that the Government continues with its approach of automatic rejection of everything that comes from the critically-oriented NGO sector, regardless of whether these are reasoned and constructive proposals. If this initiative is not accepted and recognized as necessary, then it is already clear destiny of other planned and more demanding proposals for improvement of the policy and legal framework, but also inconsistency in terms of the Prime minister’s promises of openness towards the civil sector.

Snežana Kaluđerović, Programme coordinator