The candidate of the Civic Alliance appointed unlawfully and against the will of NGOs

The Administrative Committee has again violated the law and acted despite the majority will of NGOs

We are disappointed by the decision of the Administrative Committee to propose the appointment of another representative of the NGO “Civic Alliance” as a member of the Council of the Agency for Electronic Media (AEM), by discriminating the candidate of the Association of Youth with Disabilities and therefore making procedures and criteria utterly pointless.

According to the law, the key criteria for the election are the number of NGOs that support the candidate and the candidate’s experience in the field of human rights and freedoms. On both counts, candidate Marina Vujačić had an advantage over the candidate supported by deputies.

Vujačić was supported by 38 non-governmental organizations, while the candidate of the Civic Alliance was supported by less than half that number, which is 18 non-governmental organizations. These are undisputable organizations as confirmed by the very Administrative Committee’s control and verification of the number of legal and legitimate proposals of support.

Actions speak in the case of the experience of the candidate of the Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro (AYDME), as well as the experiences of persons to whom the AYDME has been providing help and support for years, as well as the systemic fight for equal opportunities for persons with disabilities.

We consider that this proposal of the Administrative Committees significantly contributes to the development of monopoly in electronic media management, furthermore it raises the question of conflict of interests given that the Civic Alliance already had a representative at the Council of the Agency for Electronic Media. The members of the Administrative Committee are unable to explain to the public as to why they are proposing this candidate and rejecting the candidacy of the representative of AYDME. This is precisely why a mechanism of proposing of the representatives of NGOs and its criteria were formulated, in order to stop the electoral controversy and discretionary decision-making, as well as to put to stop the intermingling of political parties’ interests, which the deputies in the Administrative Committee decided to neglect.

The practice of neglect of the formal criteria and making the naming procedure of NGOs pointless by making political decisions by the Administrative Committee is not new, and as a rule it appears to be happening when it comes to naming a representative of the Civic Alliance. Besides the fact that the same organization will have two out of five members of the Council of AEM, it also has a representative in the Council of Public Service of RTCG. The appointment of the representative of the CA caused a lot of controversy even then, and a great number of organizations expressed their strong opposition to such practice of the Administrative Committee during previous two cases.

We would like to remind the public that even besides the official request of the Council of AEM that the Administrative Committee reconsider the conflict of interests of Darko Ivanović, the Administrative Committee refuses to put this question in its daily agenda.

Institute alternative will together with other NGOs reconsider further participation in the procedure of proposing representatives of NGOs in public institutions, given that the overall procedure is made pointless with direct political involvement, with providing advantage to politically suitable candidates despite the rules and criteria, as well as disrespect of legal provisions by the Administrative Committee of the Parliament.

Initiative: State should not charge access to regulations

Institute Alternative sent an initiative to the Government and the Official Gazette to allow free access to final (consolidated) texts of regulations for all citizens.

Citizens do not have free access to the official database of consolidated texts of regulations of the Official Gazette. According to the Law on publication of regulations and other documents, the electronic edition of the Official Gazette is free, but the section on access to the texts of consolidated legislation is commercialized and charged 180 Euros per year for a single license (according to the latest published information). Alongside Official Gazette, similar and advanced services are being offered by private companies at several times higher prices.

Edited text represents only text of legal regulation, currently in force. It contains the original text of the regulation and any changes that have been adopted from the date of its entry into force. Official Gazette in its free issues publishes the original text of the regulation but all subsequent modifications, additions, corrections are published only in the form of change of those provisions.

For example, The Local Government Act has been changed 11 times since coming into force in 2003 until today.

Citizen can access the text of Law currently in force, in two ways:

a) to pay 180 Euros to the Official Gazette or double that amount to other private companies in order to access edited text, or

b) find all 12 issues of Official Gazette (including the one where the Law was published for the first time) and compare all the changes and amendments, by him/herself till he or she reaches the final version.

The Law on the publication of regulations and other documents, defines the publication of laws, regulations and acts in the “Official Gazette of Montenegro” at the activity of public interest. Publication of regulations is jurisdiction of the Official Gazette, which was established as a public institution.

Official Gazette established cooperation with the company “Web regulations” (Web propisi) from Serbia in 2013, which created the electronic register of consolidated texts of regulations, which users can access only if they buy a license. The contract between the company and the public institution ’’Official Gazette’’, stipulated provisions in the first five years, so that total revenue from sales is to be divided so that Official Gazette retains 60%, and “Web regulations,” 40% of profit.

Since the establishment of the register until the beginning of this year, Official Gazette earned a total of 20 407.28 Euros. Revenues from the sale of licenses for access to the register of consolidated texts (Income from electronic subscriptions to Web regulations) for last year amounted to 9,385 Euros, which is 1.3% of the total revenue that this public institution collected (713 007.00). According to the report on the work of the institution, revenues are “largely” used to maintain the Legal Information System.

During the year 2015, almost the same amount was given by the Director of the institution to employees and retired employees on behalf of the 8th of March and on the Day of the Foundation of the Institution, which is the amount that is allocated to the Official Gazette each year for the programme ’’ Publications of regulations’’- 9 500 |€.

[1] By using taxpayers’ money, which is either paid directly from the state budget, or collected due to monopoly position of the Official Gazette, this institution commercialises access to edited texts of regulations. This practice must be stopped, and insignificant revenues are saying about the unsustainability of such a solution.


[1] Decision of the Director No. 635 of 03/05/2015, on behalf of the holiday “March 8″, for the 10 women employees, 1,100.00 Euros; Decision No. 2109 of the Director of 07/09/2015, on behalf of awards on the occasion of the Foundation of the Instittuion – 10 July, for 15 employees and five retirees, 8,140.00 Euros

SELDI Policy Workshop: Strengthening Resilience to Corruption and State Capture in Southeast Europe

SELDI Network (network of organizations involved in countering corruption in South East Europe), organised on 14 June 2016 in Brussels a policy workshop on Strengthening Resilience to Corruption and State Capture in Southeast Europe, to discuss with regional partners and European Commission (EC) representatives key anti-corruption institutions in SEE countries – their activities, capacities, mechanisms and cooperation with CSOs, the role of CSOs in monitoring reforms, monopoly policies, particularly in energy sector and the role of CSO in advocating for good governance in this and other critical sectors.

Five panel discussions were held within policy workshop, and speakers were representatives of EC, media, NGOs and business community from SEE countries. Through presentations and interactive discussion, participants underlined that having good laws and institutions are good first steps in countering corruption, however they need to be accompanied by political will and change of mentality, in order to achieve positive results in this area.

As one of the panelists, Sabine Zwaenepoel, from Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG Near), European Commission, pointed out, Governments of Western Balkan countries have recently started to embrace soft preventive tools in countering corruption, and effective enforcement and results are missing. She stated that independent civil society, autonomous from government, private interests or radical movements, could have a key role in solving this issue, by monitoring reforms and applying political pressure for change.

However, CSOs in these countries are still being seen by authorities as critics or enemies, so mutual cooperation remains unsatisfactory.

IA representative at SELDI Policy workshop, Ana Đurnić, as an example of such practice, stated a poor cooperation and closure of Montenegrin Agency for Prevention of Corruption towards CSOs and informed participants on latest amendments to the Rules of Procedure of Council of the Agency, which closed Council’s sessions for NGO representatives. She also presented problems in establishing the Agency, but also its weak capacities, low level of transparency and lack of concrete results in combating corruption so far, that IA findings pointed at.

More information about the policy workshop can be find on the following link.

TV Show: Participation of citizens and NGOs in public administration reform

President of the Managing Board of Institute Alternative, Stevo Muk, was a guest on the show Club A on Atlas TV. The topic of the show was participation of citizens and NGOs in the preparation of key strategic and policy documents, focusing on the Public Administration Reform Strategy.

IA, as he said, researches the topic of public administration since its inception, paying particular attention to transparency and participatory process. He added that this deficiency is recognized as a systemic problem when it comes to the public policy planning in Montenegro.

“We in Institute Alternative, often say that this strategy, that is its draft, lacks human face”, Stevo emphasized, alluding to the fact that citizens are not involved in its preparation, although this reform is being developed for them and concerns them the most.

Moreover, Stevo spoke about the thin line between party and state administration: “Even this strategy has failed to tackle the problem of non-existing merit-based system of recruitment and promotion in the civil service,” he concluded.

Video hosting the show Club A can be viewed at the link below:

IA Initiative to the Minister of Interior: Fully implement the reform of the civil service system

Institut Alternative (IA) today submitted an initiative to the Minister of Interior, Mr Goran Danilović, aimed at improving Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees, which keeps problematic legal solutions and prevents establishing of merit based system in state authorities.

Work on amending the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees began in September last year, and now, inter- sectoral Working Group, consisting of representatives of Ministry of Interior (MoI), Human Resources Management Authority (HRMA), Ministry of Finance (MF), Parliament of Montenegro and a representative of IA, is finalising the Draft Law.

However, despite our efforts to amend the provisions that, in previous period, have prevented establishing of merit – based system in Montenegrin state administration, Draft Law kept the most problematic solutions.

Those solutions that we pointed out in our initiative, include, among other things, discretionary right of the head of the authority not to appoint the best ranked candidate, insufficiently regulated evaluation of candidates, insufficient prevention of political influence over employees in state administration, centralized decision-making on appointment of civil servants and state employees in political figures and imprecise classification of work places.

Numerous findings of IA speak for problematic implementation of these legal solutions, but also experiences of citizens who file complaints via our website My administration. In initiative, we pointed to last complaint submitted via our website, where an ex employee of MoI claims that his rights were violated more than once.

“We remind that the Ministry you are heading is the most numerous institution of the system, with 4859 employees, according to the latest Government’s Personnel Plan. Thus, problem of violation of employees’ rights also mostly refers to MoI”, writes in the initiative.

We also reminded of our previous warnings that some of the MoI’s practices could be discriminatory, bearing in mind that the status of their fixed-term employees was solved by allowing them to apply for job based on internal announcements within Ministry.

“By doing so, a lot of others fixed-term employees in other state authorities are being discriminated, because they were not allowed to solve their working status in this manner”, states the initiative, and appeals to the Minister to investigate these media statements, but also the Government’s intention from 2013 to favor certain candidates, by prejudicing the outcome of job vacancies in this institution.

The initiative in its entirety can be read on the following link

IA initiative for improving Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees, addressed to the Minister of Interior (only in Montenegrin).

IA Team

RESPONSE: Proposal of the profit distribution of the company ’’Monteput’’ is unjust and irrational

Proposal of the Minister of Transport and Maritime Affairs for the distribution of the net profit of the company ’’Monteput’’ is unjust and irrational, which means that the Government must take into account the opinion of Ministry of Finance, reject the proposal and transfer the overall income to the Chief Treasury Account.

The proposal foresees that 17% of the profit (€ 153,141) should be distributed in the form of bonus shares to members of governing bodies, management and employees. An additional € 50,000 was planned for housing stock, 40 000 € for support to sports, health, cultural, educational and humanitarian organizations, as well as 23 000 € for “unforeseen costs” (in an election year, without detailed criteria and rules to regulate the distribution these funds).

If the proposal was adopted, established practice wouldn’t change, because every year Monteput achieves gain, where significant share is given as bonus to governing bodies and resolving housing issues of the employees.

The fact that the Monteput made profit is not a consequence of special knowledge and skills of the enterprise’s management to reach success in the market competition. Monteput is not a player in the market, but a monopoly collector of revenue, established by the Government. According to official data, in 2015 it had a staff increase of over 20% (from 86 to 112). It is singled out every year and disproportionately rewarded, which is unfair, considering that this is the consequence of the increased frequency of traffic through the tunnel Sozina and Raš, which are being managed by Monteput.

Additionally, the sum for the support to various organizations is hardly predictable, considering that Monteput does not publish records on grants and sponsorships to companies and individuals. The fact that official website of this company has been in preparation for a long period of time does not help the lack of transparency. Even though good results in state companies should be rewarded, there is great number of cases where bad results were not punished. According to data gathered by Institute alternative, from 39 state companies on national level, 13 of them haven’t had bad results.

We do not have an information whether any state company, both on national or local level, complied with the provision of the Law on Salaries in Public Sector, which requires that losing companies must “reduce the total wage bill by 10% in the first year and an additional 5% in the next calendar year.” (Art. 10 of the Act).

Regarding Monteput, we believe that any excess of revenues must be used to enhance the professional capacity in management of the project of building the highway Bar-Boljare, which was, rightly or wrongly, added to its jurisdiction.

The state cannot reward monopolist because the relentless growth in incomes, without having sanctions for poor performance. We believe that this practice should be interrupted, and that Monteput’s entire profits must be transferred to the main account of the State Treasury. The government must adopt a special act which will regulate the fair distribution of profit in the form of awards for managers and employee, which will be stimulating and just, but not excluded from the whole context of the economic situation of the state and the state of public finances.

Stevo Muk
President of the Managing board