Montenegrin troubles with European Commission Questionnaire. Charges against Ministry of European Integration.
February 21, 2010
Montenegro applied to join the EU on December 15th 2008. On July 22nd 2009, the Commission delivered the questionnaire that requires detailed explanations regarding reforms being made on the country’s road towards EU, in order to asses Montenegrin application. Finally, on December 9th 2009, Montenegro completed the questionnaire and Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic gave the answers to the European Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn. The Commission is expected to submit the opinion to the Council in the course of 2010.
Doubts about correctness of data which are sent to Brussels
Many independent analysts, as well as leaders of some prominent NGO’s in Montenegro, claimed that answers to the EC questionnaire have been embelished and „beautified“, in order to look better. They accused government of using statistics which has little to do with reality and that facts about many issues are much worse that the description in the answers.
Answers on EC questionnaire hided from the public
Leaders of Montenegrin civil sector, as well as opposition parties, invited the government to make the answers publicly available. They accused government for hiding the answers from its citizens and raised the concern over the accuracy of the data wich were sent to Brussels. Government officials refused to deliver the answers and denied the whole issue.
President of parliamentary committee for European Integration Miodrag Vukovic (member of the ruling party) stated that “some governments in the region made their answers available to the public immidiately and some did it later. We don’t see anything problematic in request to publicly acknowledge the answers, but we find it inapropriate that the same people from the civil society sector insist on it for already a year or so.” Other state officials explained that they don’t see the need to publish the answers publicly.
Mrs Vanja Calovic, leader of prominent non-governmental organization MANS (Network for affirmation of non-profit sector) filed a charge at Administrative Court against Ministry of European Integration on January 29th 2010. She explained that the document with answers on EC questionnaire doesn’t have any confidental data and nor any information that could possibly damage the interest or security of Montenegrin state. Therefore she doesn’t see the reason that government hide the answers from the citizens.
Mrs Calovic’s organization “MANS” prepared their own version of answers on the questionnaire and sent it to the Brussels. They explained that government “beautified” the answers and that their view of the problems in the country is much more accurate. This is especially related to the field of fight against corruption and crime, which is continuosly epmhasized as one of the greatest problems in Montenegro. Another opposition party in Montenegro, Movement for Changes, said that they will prepare their own version of answers on the EC Questionnaire.
Another related issue appeared with the National Council on European Integration, the body of Montenegrin Parliament. The Council was inactive for already 6 months, although its function was to monitor and foster the process of EU integrations and relations with European Union. On February 19th, National Council on EU integration finally adopted plan of activities for 2010. and discussed several important questions. President of the council, Nebojsa Medojevic (leader on an opposition party Movement for Changes) has emphasized the negative image that government creates, by hiding the answers on EC questionnaire from the public.