EC Working Document confirms stagnation of process in Montenegro

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) assesses that the, yesterday presented, the EC Working Paper on the state of play regarding Chapter 23 and 24 for Montenegro confirms our allegations that Montenegro stagnates in these areas, and in some parts also records regression.

This document continues to indicate, more explicitly and profoundly, the problems which are the result of the absence of genuine political will to properly carry out the accession negotiation process with the EU and democratization of Montenegro, as well as the domination of party over public interest.

The European Commission also points to issues that the CCE, with colleagues in the sector, previously addressed, particularly concerning the situation in the judiciary, media and fight against corruption.

In this context, it is extremely important that the European Commission gives an overview of the Judicial Council, which has positioned itself exceedingly negatively in recent period, starting with the manner of conducting interviews with candidates (of which colleagues from the Human Rights Action (HRA) informed the public in detail and with arguments), through the conflict of interest of certain members of the Judicial Council and interviewed candidates, which were also processed by the CCE, HRA, Institute Alternative and MANS to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA). The European Commission has clearly expressed its concern about the third re-election of the President of the Supreme Court, in spite of the Constitutional limit to two terms, as well as other controversial re-elections of the presidents of the courts who have already had two terms, dubious manner in which the Judicial Council interprets the Constitution and law. This substantially affirms the political party and the bias decisions-making of the Judicial Council and ignorance of the constitutional and legal framework.

Furthermore, the European Commission considers as controversial granting of loans and apartments on privileged condition to the representatives of the judiciary, which was also pointed out by the critical voices in Montenegro, because this has an impact on the independence of the judiciary and bring benefits to those granting such privileges to the representatives of the judiciary, i.e. the Government of Montenegro.

Through its findings, the CCE warned on the selectivity and unwillingness of the ACA to thoroughly, even on specific charges, check the assets of public officials. In this segment, the EC also notes that the results of these random- sampling checks, including illicit enrichment, changes of assets and origin of assets, remain deficient.

Media freedom is marked as one of the most critical areas with focus on the lack of performance in processing attacks against journalists and the party overtaking of the RTCG. During the first half of 2019, several dismissals from the RTCG Council and the RTCG management (which occurred during 2018) were annulled by the courts. In early summer 2019, the Parliament appointed a new RTCG Council. Undue political interference and pressure remain an issue of concern,” the document states. The CCE recalls that this refers to the illegal dismissal of critically oriented members of the RTCG Council, for example Goran Djurovic, who are still seeking for justice through, as the EC notes, politicized judiciary. This also refers to Andrijana Kadija, former Director General of RTCG, Vladan Micunovic, former Director of TVCG, and Aleksandar Mirkovic, former Editor in chief of RTCG1, and who were all dismissed in the brutal party cleansing of RTCG, when the CCE was also abused by those who ordered and executed that dirty work. Nowadays, the RTCG is exactly what the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) wanted it to be – closed to different argument based and critical standpoints with occasional simulations of that otherness through already recognized and new forces amongst the DPS players. But, it is good that it is so obvious that it can also be easily seen from Brussels.


Daliborka Uljarevic, CCE Executive Director