European Commission Report: Poor grade for Montenegro

In most negotiation Chapters, according to the Report of the European Commission, Montenegro has made “some progress”. Two worse grades than this one are “backsliding” or “no progress”. The lowest grades were given to chapters relating to economic and monetary policy and the fisheries.

For the key chapters relating to the fight against corruption and organized crime and the protection of fundamental rights (23 and 24), Montenegro keeps receiving, year after year, the same assessment -limited progress.

The evaluation of the need for further reform in these areas coincide with the analyses made by the Institute Alternative that was presented to the public just a day before the publication of the Annual Report.

The Report insists in particular on strengthening the independence and professionalism of the judiciary, inter alia, through the implementation of a new system of recruitment, evaluation and promotion.

As a reminder, IA has warned, during its presentation of findings on the rule of law in Montenegro, that the recent stance of the Administrative Court that the Judicial Council has broad authority to evaluate all the parameters for the selection of judges and to give priority to some, regardless of the number of points attained in election procedures, can have a negative impact on the reform of the judicial system.

The Montenegro Report also confirms our findings about the necessity for improving cooperation between police and prosecutors in pre-trial proceedings, as well as our conclusions on the lack of pro-activity of the Agency for prevention of corruption.

If these language constructs are translated into numerical scale, which the European Commission has adopted as part of the revised reporting methodology, the average score that Montenegro received, not only for Chapters 23 and 24, but in the overall report, is 3.

This revised methodology from 2015, includes two levels of evaluation – “state of play” and “level of progress”.

The first level of evaluation relates to the assessment of the overall situation in the areas covered by individual chapters, while the second level focuses on a separate assessment of the progress that has been made in the past 12 months, ie. since the release of the previous report.

Descriptive values for state of play are “early stage, some level of preparation, moderately prepared, good level of preparation, well advanced.”
“Backsliding” is the lowest rating that can be obtained for the second basis of reporting from the European Commission for a limited period of 12 months. Next is the “no progress, some progress, good progress and very good progress.”

Thus, the average rating of Montenegro in this year’s Report shows that the country made lowest level of progress.

The worst evaluated chapters were Chapter 13 (Fisheries) and Chapter 17 (Economic and Monetary policy), whereas, in comparison to last year’s report, lower grade received a Chapter on Public Procurement (5). For the Free movement of workers, the Chapter in which previously has been no progress, this year Montenegro has made limited progress, according to the European Commission.

Institute Alternative Team

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