Presentation of the web portal

At a press conference held today, Institute Alternative unveiled its new web portal,, whose aim is to increase the transparency of local budgets (Moj Grad stands for My city in Montenegrin). is a pioneering project of budget data visualization in Montenegro. It was created as part of the project “Monitoring of local budgets”, which aims to increase the transparency of local finance. The project was conducted with the support of the Open Society Foundations (Think Tank Fund and Information Program).

Local budgets in Montenegro are inadequately controlled. Mechanisms responsible for oversight are burdened with problems (local parliaments, commercial audit of the final accounts, state and internal audits). Also, local finances in Montenegro are not transparent, information on local government budgets are difficult to find, and the format in which they are presented is not citizen-friendly. By bringing together all the available information in one place and presenting them in a simple and visually approachable way, we made local budgets closer to citizens and all those interested in local finances.

Data on local finances at the portal can be accessed in three ways:

Through a detailed insight into the finances of individual local governments,
By comparing all local governments according to one of the 33 budget criteria,
Comparing regions of Montenegro according to one of the budget criteria.

Among other things, the portal gives you the opportunity to find:

  • Data on incomes and expenses of all municipalities in Montenegro since 2009,
  • Decisions on the annual (year-end) final accounts of all municipal budgets,
  • Reports of commercial auditors on the final accounts of the municipal budgets,
  • Data on indebtedness (unsettled obligations) of local governments,
  • Data on the number of local employees and their income,
  • Data on the unemployment rate for all local governments, etc.

In addition to budgetary data, the portal offers a glossary of the key concepts, explanation of the budget cycle at the local level, as well as various additional data on local governments in Montenegro. With the support of our media partners, we were able to enhance the web portal with the most interesting newspaper articles on local finances.

In the future, we will update the web portal with new annual budget data. We also wish to introduce certain budget categories with more details and information. At the end, we wish to make a place for all those who want reliable information on local finances.

Press release: Four municipalities hiding their public procurement reports

Institute alternative is not able to get to annual public procurements reports for over two months now – from Podgorica, Nikšić, Herceg Novi and Rožaje.

Using the right to obtain information under the Law on free access to information, we’ve addressed 14 municipalities with a request for free access to information, seeking Annual Report on Public Procurements 2012. Ten municipalities responded within the statutory period, but not the remaining four. Irresponsiveness of the local administration to our requests for access to information is indicating a problem of transparency and poor cooperation with the civil sector.

Of the 14 municipalities that make up our sample: Bar, Budva, Cetinje, Podgorica, Danilovgrad, Kolašin, Herceg Novi, Kotor, Tivat, Mojkovac, Nikšiž, Pljevlja, Plužine, Rožaje and 10 of them responded to the request and sent us the the requested documentation, while the four municipalities (Herceg Novi, Nikšić, Podgorica, and Rožaje) gave us no answer, despite multiple attempts on our side to reach them.

We believe that this practice is unacceptable, especially when it comes to the Capital City, which should set an example of transparency, openness and good cooperation with the civil sector.

Marija Popović
Project Associate

Press release: Parliament still without a clear framework for participating in accession negotiations

The draft Resolution on the process, the quality and dynamics of integration of Montenegro to the European Union does not recognize the need for more active involvement of the Parliament in this process, does not define the modalities that would allow for this, nor the principles of relations and communication of the Government and Parliament in the negotiations process.

Many months of the working group’s activities, consultations with civil society, suggestions from interested parties regarding a number of models that would contribute to a better position of the Parliament in the process of negotiations have not made any progress in this direction. The text of the draft resolution does not bring any progress in ensuring that the Parliament will provide an active contribution to the process.

The form of resolution suggests it is not a proper sort of document to define these issues, but that should definitely determine the position of Parliament in the negotiations. Provisions that continue to prolong effective supervision over the activities of the executive branch in the negotiation process are especially worrying, because a clear framework for cooperation is not defined, nor inter-institutional model established.

The Parliament decide to go for a model of considering negotiating positions in the Committee for European Integration, marginalizing the role of other committees. This is done at closed sessions, which is not helping the Parliament to fulfill its role in “informing the citizens about the integration process”, which is mentioned in the draft resolution, nor intensive cooperation with civil society and the representatives of other branches of government.

We expect the Committee for European Integration to enhance the text of the Resolution by defining the relationship between the Government and the Parliament in the negotiation process, the obligation of intensive reporting to the Parliament on the fulfillment of obligations under the Action Plans for Chapter 23, and 24, and the conditions for progress in negotiations the other chapters.

Research Coordinator

Our protest regarding hate speech and threats to LGBT persons

IA strongly condemns the actions of individuals and groups that use hate speech, threatening and call for lynching the organizers of the forthcoming LGBT gathering in Budva. IA calls upon the police and authorities to immediately deal with the perpetrators and prosecute the offense of stirring up hatred and intolerance toward LGBT people.

Publishing of a mock obituary with a photo and full name of Zdravko Cimbaljević is a direct threat to his physical integrity, as well as all LGBT persons in Montenegro and undoubtedly incites hatred and spreads hostility toward LGBT people in our country.

The state of Montenegro is obliged to sanction any individual or group to commit criminal acts against LGBT people. In this sense, we demand the relevant institutions to respond adequately and protect the participants of the LGBT gathering scheduled for tomorrow. The right to public assembly and expression are fundamental human rights and the state has an obligation to enable everyone to freely use these rights, regardless of any personal characteristic.

Stevo Muk
President of the Managing Board

Training on employment and selection in state administration

Our project associate, Milena Janketić, attended the training on “Recruitment and Selection”, held at RESPA (Regional School of Public Administration) on Wednesday, 10th July.

The training was organized by the Hungarian consulting company AAM Consulting, in order to build the institutional capacities of HRMA (Human Resources Management Authority) for the new Law on Civil Servants and State Employees implementation.

Institute Alternative monitors the implementation of the new Law on Civil Servants and State Employees since the start of 2013, as part of the project “Recruitment and Promotion in State Administration.” We believe that the training on recruitment and selection of HRMA, is of importance for the effective implementation of the new law, which should lead to employment and promotion based on merits in the public administration.

Anne Randvali, graduate psychologist with a master in the field of organizational behavior, led the educational training. Employees from different sectors of HRMA, were able to learn through practical exercises (interviewing, definition of recruitment), how to efficiently execute selection of candidates who applied for work in the civil service.

Press release: Podgorica’s Plan Far From Reality

Institute Alternative (IA) submitted to the authorities of Montenegro’s capital Podgorica comments to the draft Action plan for fight against corruption, finding that the document is not aligned with the national priorities and that it does not provide convincing justification of the proposed strategic aims, measures and activities.

The draft action plan of capital Podgorica does not offer a detailed analysis of current situation. By failing to recognize main problems and limitations faced during the fight against corruption at local level, this document doesn’t clearly identify the corruption risks. The legitimacy of chosen strategic aims, measures and activities is thus questionable.

The draft is based neither on the analysis of corruption risks carried out by the Ministry of Finance in 2011, nor on the Public Administration Reform Strategy and other relevant documents, including the most recent European Commission’s progress reports on Montenegro.

In addition, it should clearly state which of the measures from the previous action plan were not realized or were just partially implemented, and which the reasons for these failings are.

Justification of costs in the draft action plan is not satisfactory. The special part, which would clearly determine amount of money needed for realization of each activity, should thus be added.

It is senseless for the action plan to urge implementation of the valid legal acts, as it is outlined firstly in the introduction of the document, and then listed more specifically within the several measures. If the intention of the authorities was to highlight significance of implementation of certain acts and norms, it is possible to envisage specific models for following the implementation, which would include regular reporting and indications of challenges during the enforcement of specific rules.

We are concerned over the practical absence of the Podgorica’s local assembly from the draft action plan, apart from the one envisaged activity. Specific measures for enhancing the oversight role of the assembly should be also envisaged. In that respect, earlier recommendations of the IA could be useful.

Although highly susceptible to corruption, public-private partnerships and concessions are not included into the plan.

Numerous measures from the plan lack direct connection to the fight against corruption, while many activities and their stakeholders are not properly defined.The deadline for completion of many activities is imprecise, being simply defined as “continuously”. If not amended, all this can hamper the plan’s realization.

Here you can download the Comments of the Institute Alternative to the draft Action plan for the fight against corruption in the local self-government of the Capital Podgorica 2013-2014 (in Montenegrin only!)