Current budgetary reserve – 60 millions out of sight

We call upon the Agency for Personal Data Protection and Free Access to Information to promptly decide upon the Institute alternative’s appeal against the Decision of the Secretariat-General of the Government from March this year, which declared confidential all information on work of the Commission for allocation of funds from budgetary reserve.

According to the Rules of Procedure of the Government, the Commission for the allocation of funds from current budgetary reserve, as a permanent Government’s body, decides independently on the allocation of funds to individuals, organizations, companies and associations, on the basis of submitted requests and relevant documentation. The purposes for which this money can be used are support for medical treatment, education, improvement of financial situation, but also “other purposes in accordance with the Law”.

Total funds spent from the “current budgetary reserve” for the past four years amount to 62 million euro. Since all the data of the Commission’s work have been declared “confidential”, we cannot even assume how much of this amount was spent through their decisions, nor to what purposes the money was spent and to whom it has gone.

Through free access to information, we requested some basic information on this Government body’s work: requests submitted to the Commission during 2015, decisions on allocation of funds, reports, statements and conclusion proposals, as well as minutes from the Commission’s session.

Our request was rejected because the Secretariat-General of the Government declared confidential – i.e. “classified” all the information on Commission’s work, referring to the Law on Personal Data Protection.

We consider the reasoning of hiding this information because of personal data protection unconvincing, as well as an abuse of the provisions of the Law on Personal Data Protection and the Law on Free Access to Information. In our opinion, the Secretariat-General has ignored the obligation of providing a copy of requested information after deleting confidential (protected) parts – in this case, personal data should have been deleted.

We are concerned about this practice of hiding information about this significant budget spending, which is discretionary and refers to transfers to individuals and legal entities, regulated only by the general rulebook from 2009. As long as the information on work of the Commission that is not accountable to anyone but the Government, are not publicly available, we have a right to doubt that funds from the “current budgetary reserve” have been misused for electoral purposes.

Stevo MUK
President of the Managing Board

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