On several occasions, Civic Alliance warned on possible scenario of the Government of Montenegro in terms of obvious slowdown of the integration process, under different excuses and under the gown of self-satisfaction after the termination of NATO integrations.
The Government of Montenegro and the European Union should make additional efforts to make the integration process and information related to this matter more available and more understandable. The Government is expected to take concrete steps directed towards important reforms instead of superficial and insufficient reports, in order to make the accession process faster and more efficient, because lack of real results in the five years long integration process in Montenegro is devastating.
The latest researches of the agency Galup and CEDEM showed the fall of confidence of citizens in the EU integration process, and significant percent of skeptical people that membership in the EU shall make any benefits. Such a situation is the consequence of the two decades long transition process in our country. The same situation lasted shorter in other East European countries with the more rigid communist regime. Although statistic shows the rise of average salary and the rise of GDP, life of citizens has not change during the five years long negotiation period, and the gap between the rich and the poor is larger. Partocracy is deeply rooted and broadly widespread at all levels, which additionally harms national institutions and disenables development of democratic order, and at the same time represents suitable ground for development of systemic corruption and organized crime.
Communication of the Government of Montenegro with citizens is at the low level so, this and many other areas, stay unavailable and incomprehensible for the wide public. Citizens are mostly insufficiently informed about the negotiation process, because information about “opening” or “temporary closing” of chapters does not mean anything concrete to them. The Government of Montenegro mostly offers superficial reports full of professional terminology that do not describe what the essential process of integration brings for citizens. People in charge for the integration process in Montenegro have not shown sensibility for the needs of citizens to be adequately, timely and truly informed.
The Government needs to pay attention whether its people in charge for the EU integrations, give confidence to citizens or just the opposite – do they cause resisting to this process. Years long negotiations without concrete results show hesitation and lack of motivation of Montenegrin authority to conduct reforms efficiently. Although the fall of confidence in the EU has been registered in other countries in the process of negotiation, such a drastic fall of confidence is the reason for concern.
On the other hand, the burden of responsibility is on the international community, which has tolerated numerous failings of the Government, for the geostrategic role Montenegro has in the region. Attitude of the European Union that standing aside and be at a distance when it comes to “interior affairs” of the country, which are depicted through various violations of human rights, the rule of law and the principles of democracy; is dangerous. This additionally increases the distrust of citizens, especially the ones who are democratically oriented and cherish the same values as the EU stands. It is in the interest of the European Union that Montenegro and the whole Balkans are part of successful integration story. Therefore, a more proactive approach is expected from the EU, concrete assistance and action, rather than bureaucracy, when it comes to respect of human rights and the rule of law.
Civic Alliance Program Coordinator