Press release: European Commission’s comments on the anti-corruption legislation must be public

Since the public is not allowed to gain insight into the comments of the European Commission on the drafts to the key pieces of legislation related to fight against corruption and judiciary reform, it is unclear to what extent the draft laws correspond to the suggestions made by the European Union.

Amendments to the Law on Public Procurement are currently in parliamentary procedure and will be adopted with one-year delay in relation to the deadline foreseen in the Action Plan for Chapter 23 and the Government’s 2013 Work Programme. In spite of the fact that during the public hearing organized in March 2014 the interested public could submit comments and suggestions for improvement of this legal text, the comments of the European Commission on the draft law are still unavailable.

In this regard, in July 2014, Institute Alternative submitted the request for access to information to the Public Procurement Administration seeking access to comments of the European Commission. The Public Procurement Administration informed us that they were not in possession of the requested information and that our request will be forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. The Ministry has not responded to our request to this day. The question arises as to how is it possible that the competent authority for implementation of the Law on Public Procurement is not in possession of this document, and, thus, which suggestions were their guide in the process of amendment and “improvement” of the legal text. Bearing in mind that the text of the draft law does not improve existing anti-corruption mechanisms, does not introduce new ones and does not establish an appropriate model for monitoring the implementation of procurement contracts, which is one of the benchmarks for progress in the negotiations under Chapter 23, it is questionable to what extent these solutions correspond to the suggestions of the European Commission. Additionally, persistent transferring of jurisdiction from one address to another is problematic from the aspect of process coordination, but also when it comes to openness of institutions.

Given that several crucial laws regulating the area of fight against corruption and judiciary reform will be put in parliamentary procedure in the forthcoming period, we urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration to provide an insight into the European Commission’s comments on these laws to the interested public.

Jovana Marović
Research Coordinator

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