Reaction: Attack on the independent daily newspaper “Vijesti”

In the context of the latest in the series of attacks, Institute Alternative hereby expresses sincere solidarity with the Editorial Board, journalists and employees of the daily newspaper “Vijesti”.

We express our concern that the message of the latest attack is that the next time the attackers will be even more fierce and ruthless and will brutally and directly endanger lives of people.

We encourage the Government to provide police protection and security of premises of the daily newspaper “Vijesti”. Journalists cannot and should not work in conditions that resemble reporting from the front lines.

We call for the widest support and solidarity of all free people. Violence must be condemned and stopped. The victims of this and previous attacks are not only specific people, but all Montenegrin citizens and their freedoms.

The Minister of Interior must set a deadline for delivering results of investigation of the latest attack. If the investigation does not yield results as soon as possible, those in charge must resign or be dismissed. This refers primarily to the Police Administration Director, and then to the Minister of Interior.

If there are reasons for the failure of previous investigations, the public has the right to be informed about those reasons, particularly when it comes to internal obstructions within Police, Prosecution and National Security Agency.

We invite the Prime Minister to terminate the campaign against critics of the regime run by the state and their associated media.

The Prime Minister Milo Djukanović bears tremendous responsibility for the continuation of attacks. Djukanović’s political responsibility is the greatest considering that for years now he failed to bring the attackers on journalists to justice, while at the same time encouraged confrontations and antagonism towards the independent media.

Stevo Muk
President of the Managing Board

Third generation of the Public Policy School

Institute Alternative continues implementation of its successful project Public Policy School, with the support of the Commission for the Allocation of Revenue from Games of Chance.

Following successful completion of the first and second generation of Public Policy School in 2012 and 2013, the Commission has supported realization of School’s third generation, which will be implemented in collaboration with Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI) in 2014. Continued implementation of the project has been made official today by signing the Agreement between interested parties.

60 participants have attended the Public Policy School so far, majority of which comprised of civil servants, while a smaller number of participants were employees of local self-government, trade unions, media, NGO sector, as well as some of the best undergraduate and postgraduate students of Montenegrin universities.

Bearing in mind that the formal education system does not provide sufficient knowledge and skills in the area of policy studies, the main aim of this School is to contribute to their quality development through strengthening the capacities and knowledge of stakeholders on stages and actors of policy making cycle. In addition, the School offers an opportunity to strengthen communication and cooperation among participants from various sectors, institutions and organizations.

The School is implemented through five modules in the total amount of twenty-six lectures held by some of the most prominent experts in the field – professors from the universities of Zagreb, Belgrade and Podgorica, accompanied by public policy professionals and stakeholders. During several months of training, participants will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the key aspects of creation, analysis, implementation and monitoring of public policies. Sectoral policies, the role of think tanks in public policy making, as well as the role of state and non-state actors in policy making at the EU level, will be thoroughly discussed.

The Call for participants will be published in February.

Dina Bajramspahić
Public Policy Researcher

Public hearing on the new Judiciary Reform Strategy (2014-2018)

Representatives of Institute Alternative Jovana Marović, PhD, and Dina Bajramspahić participated in the public hearing on the draft of the Judicial Reform Strategy for the period 2014-2018, held on December 23, in hotel “Podgorica”. The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Justice, with support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Montenegro.

At the present stage of preparations of the Strategy, problems and strategic guidelines for further reforms were identified, while measures, indicators and deadlines for implementation of these measures will be defined in the future. Formulated guidelines relate to the following areas: strengthening independence, impartiality and accountability of the judiciary; strengthening efficiency of the judiciary; networking with European judges; as well as increasing availability, transparency and public confidence in the judicial system.

Reaction: Miloš Radulović’s attackers must be discovered

The State of Montenegro and its security structures, primarily the Police Administration and the National Security Agency, must do everything in their power to expose culprits of the attack on the Chief of Police Miloš Radulović. The State must provide its officers with security and dignity, especially when they are faced with pressure from criminal structures. Fight against organized crime implies that numerous officers of Police Administration and other investigative authorities risk their lives by exposing activities of criminal groups.

The fact that this was the second attack in the series tells us about the continued pressure being exerted on one police officer. If the attacks on the Chief of Police Miloš Radulović remain unsolved, it will send a message that we as a country are powerless against organized crime. By protecting Radulović, finding and apprehending his attackers, the Police Administration must prove both to the general public and its own employees that such attacks cannot go unpunished.

Stevo Muk
President of the Managing Board

Stevo Muk on TV Vijesti

Watch the video of the political talk-show “Načisto” with Petar Komenić, on TV Vijesti, with our president of the Managing Board, Stevo Muk. The talk-show was aired on 12 December 2013. The topics discussed were opening of accession negotiations in chapters 23 and 24, reform of the security and defense sector, oversight of the measures of secret surveillance, the work of prosecution and independent control institutions such as the State Audit Institution and many more:

IA at the parliamentary hearing on the 2014 Budget Bill

The Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget held a hearing today to discuss the Budget Bill for 2014. President of the Managing Board of Institute Alternative, Stevo Muk, attended this meeting upon invitation.

Comments of Institute Alternative on the Budget Bill refer to systematic regulation of participation of the Parliament in the budget cycle. We wish to emphasize that the regulations in force at the time being do not allow for substantial contribution of MPs and civil society in the process of budget drafting. This happens due to the budget drafting process being completely closed to stakeholders outside executive branch, with the exclusive role of the Ministry of Finance. The lack of transparency in the drafting process is accompanied by extremely tight deadlines left for the Parliament to consider and adopt the budget bill.

Furthermore, our comments refer to the necessity of introducing programme budgeting in its entirety. Even though programme budget implementation had started in 2003, programme budget at the national level has not been made yet. All consumer units formally have programmes, but these programmes do not contain indicators as means of monitoring results in realization of programme objectives.

Finally, president of the Managing Board of Institute Alternative presented number of remarks relating to particular amounts of funds allocated to certain budget units. These remarks refer to the situation entailing that numerous institutions and bodies in charge of different types of control and supervision of work of public administration will have smaller budgets in 2014, when compared to the ones in 2013. Among others, less resources for carrying out their activities will have the following institutions: the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms, the State Audit Institution, the Audit Authority, the Commission for the Control of State Aid, the Public Procurement Administration, offence authorities, as well as the Parliament of Montenegro.

In addition to the Institute Alternative representative, today’s meeting was, besides the bill drafters, attended by the representatives of State Audit Institution, Central Bank of Montenegro, Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro, Montenegrin Employers Federation, Confederation of Trade Unions of Montenegro, Montenegro Business Alliance, Association of Veterans of Wars since 1990, Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro, and University Donja Gorica. Following several hours’ debate, the Committee approved the 2014 Budget Bill by a majority vote.

The Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget began including representatives of civil society in the hearings on the annual budget bill during the previous assembly in 2009. Institute Alternative participates regularly in the Committee meetings since 2010.