Press release: Six ministers refused to finance NGOs in 2018

The story of alleged cooperation between the Government and NGOs lasted until the first important decision in the implementation of the new Law on NGOs. Refusal of cooperation with NGOs in the fight against corruption will negatively affect the further process of European integration.

Institute Alternative (IA) calls on the Government of Montenegro to oblige ministries that have not established funding programs for NGOs in 2018 to urgently do so.

We call on Prime Minister, Duško Marković to oblige the Ministry of Public Administration, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Interior as well as other ministries, to open the process of establishing priority areas and organizing consultations with NGOs in planning of the financing of NGO programs and projects in 2018.

Last week IA warned that a third of ministries did not comply with the Law on NGOs, so they do not plan to allocate funds for NGO projects next year, which could help them formulate public policies. We remind that these ministries are the Ministry of Public Administration, Interior, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Science, Sustainable Development and Tourism.

After the IA’s response, the Ministry of Public Administration announced and confirmed that it did not plan to allocate funds for financing NGO projects in the field of “Public Administration Reform” in the following year. Therefore, the Ministry has decided which areas are not a priority for financing NGO projects, without prior consultation with non-governmental organizations.

We especially emphasize the concern for this behaviour of the Ministry of Public Administration, which is in charge of implementing the Law on NGOs, which is why IA had sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Mr. Duško Marković. IA invited him to reject the Government’s proposal to adopt the priorities of NGO financing in 2018, without involving the areas directly related to the priorities of the European integration process, i.e. the fight against corruption and the rule of law.

First of all, these areas refer to “Public Administration Reform” within the Ministry of Public Administration, and then “Public Finance Management” within the Ministry of Finance and “Development of Integrity and Efficiency of Police work” within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Monitoring the results in these areas is of great importance for monitoring progress of the fight against corruption in Montenegro. These ministries play a key role in achieving the results in Chapter 23 – Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, Chapter 24 – Justice, Freedom and Security, as well as Chapter 32 – Financial Control. Bearing in mind the importance of the mentioned areas, we use this opportunity to emphasize the need for non-governmental organizations to contribute, through independent research and activities, to the monitoring of benefits that the public administration reform area, public finance management and the development of police efficiency will have for the citizens.

We especially warn that this decision and the response of the Ministry of Public Administration, as well as the previous actions of all of the six ministries, represent the risk and danger of possible further exclusion of the civil sector from important reform processes in Montenegro.

Stevo Muk
President of the Managing Board

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