Corruption in Montenegro remains the rule

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) points out that this International Day of the Fight against Corruption finds Montenegro without progress, despite the fact that the change of government did not lead to a change in bad practices. For years, the CCE has been warning of numerous difficulties in this area, ranging from deficiencies in the legislative framework to the ineffectiveness of authorities in specific cases, which creates a vicious circle, while citizens, according to research conducted by CCE, see the fight against corruption among the top three problems.

Therefore, it is not a surprise that this issue has become very popular in political marketing, but also that this use is inversely proportional to genuine efforts in the fight against corruption. This is confirmed by the reports of the European Commission and the State Department.

Both reports recognize that there is no adequate response from decision-makers and institutions to this pressing problem, in addition to a lack of sufficient preparedness in the system, both in terms of legislation and strategy, as well as in terms of the conditions for the work of those who are in a position to make a concrete contribution. It seems that the political will to fight corruption exists much more while the parties are in opposition than when they get the chance to turn it into action.

Corruption, whether high-level or in some other forms, as well as organized crime, have existed in Montenegrin society for decades, in all areas, especially including the state administration, health system and educational institutions. The prerequisite for an effective fight against corruption is breaking with party-nepotistic employment practices.

Many questions are raised every day, but in order to have results in the fight against corruption, it is necessary that these questions receive their final epilogue, which is missing for now. In the meantime, the price of corruption is paid at every step, and its direct expression is in the lower quality of life of citizens, whether it is health services, educational documents, access to justice or some other parts of the system. When we do not anxiously ask ourselves who are the key people who lead parts of the system, who treats us, who educates our children and whether they all have a connection with corrupt activities, i.e. when we do not have a dilemma about their integrity, we will be able to talk about society in for whom corruption is an incident and not a rule. Then we will be ready for full EU membership.

Mira Popović Trstenjak, Democratisation and Europeanisation Programme Coordinator