Coalition Cooperation to the Goal, which consists of 100 NGOs, has sent a letter to the Prime Minister more than a month ago with the call upon the Ministry of Finance and the Government of Montenegro to fulfil their legal obligations and to adopt the Regulation on co-financing of EU projects for domestic non-governmental organisations. After more than a month, the Coalition did not receive any feedback, which confirms the negative attitude of the Government towards the NGO, which is culminating in the current year. Apart from not fulfilling legal obligations with regard to NGOs and making it difficult for a large number of organizations to perform their work, the Government, by ignoring completely the requests and letters, also openly shows the intolerance towards the non-governmental sector.
The draft of this Regulation was a subject of a public discussion even in July 2017, and after more than a year it is clear that there is not even one reason, except for obvious political reason, that its adoption is being postponed thus much.
All projects supported in calls for NGOs by the EU in Montenegro, and for which co-financing is required, relate to resolving key issues in the field of the rule of law and human rights in Montenegro, which are, at least declarative, the Government’s priorities. If this was the case, the Government would timely adopt the Regulation on co-financing and allow unhindered implementation of NGO projects. Obviously, the rule of law and human rights for the Government are a priority only if the public administration is dealing with them. Avoiding the adoption of the Regulation directly points out to an attempt to exclude any other actor, and in particular NGOs, that deal with these issues.
The European Commission has also clearly declared itself in favour of significance of reforms in these areas in the latest Report for Montenegro, which unambiguously expressed expectations for concrete results in the rule of law and protection of human rights.
Given that these are EU projects, the Coalition Cooperation to the Goal has informed the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro about this problem by expressing, on this occasion as well, a clear expectation for the Government to adopt the aforementioned Regulation in an urgent procedure. Otherwise, we will not have a dilemma that this is yet another manner of endangering the work and activities of NGOs in the country.
The Coalition of NGOs Cooperation to the Goal currently gathers 100 non-governmental organizations from all over Montenegro and represents the largest organized NGO coalition in Montenegro.
Ana Novakovic, President of the Management Board
Centre for Civic Education (CCE) is a member of a Coalition Cooperation to the Goal, and in that capacity has a representative in the Management Board.