Only two of the 14 parliamentary committees adopted work plans for this year during first quarter, while two committees have not held a single session since their constitution in mid-December last year.
According to the information available on the website of the Parliament, only the Committee on International Relations and Emigrants has adopted work plan for 2021, with the Security and Defense Committee, which according to a special law, adopts a plan of parliamentary oversight in the security and defense sector. Two committees, for European integration and anticorruption, have not held a single session since their constitution in mid-December last year. We express the expectation that the drafting of the Government’s Work Programme for 2021 will intensify the work and enable the planning of parliamentary oversight by all committees.
The new parliamentary convocation made a step forward by enabling video streaming of sessions (live streaming), a chronology of debates in plenary sessions, and the launch of a parliamentary TV channel. We expect that the announced publication of the chronology of debates and transcripts from committee sessions will further improve the publicity of the Parliament’s work, considering that the minutes from the committee sessions are still not published and compiled in a timely manner. Minutes are currently not available for more than half (29) of the total committee session (51).
We also believe that parliamentary oversight should be accompanied by additional performance indicators, which were missing in the recently adopted Action Plan for strengthening the legislative and control role of the Parliament of Montenegro in 2021. We note that MPs have repeatedly publicly indicated the frequency of non-delivery of requested information by the executive, despite their clearly prescribed right to access all official materials, documents and data prepared or collected in committees or the Parliamentary Service, Government, ministries and others state administration bodies, which refer to issues of importance for the exercise of the parliamentary function.
As “accountability“ but also the delivery of requested information by the executive is essential for the effectiveness of parliamentary oversight, we believe that the Parliament should pay special attention to the delivery of information requested by MPs. Failure to provide this information should also be accompanied by sanctions, which should be the subject of the announced Law on Parliament.
Public Policy Researcher at Institute Alternative