The role of civil society in EU-Montenegro relations

The role of civil society in EU-Montenegro relations

The EESC calls on the Government of Montenegro to engage in further consultations on EU affairs with civil society organisations. The EESC recommends the following concrete actions:

-         Transparency.  Appointment procedures for NGO representatives to the Parliamentary National Council for EU integration should be defined in line with clear and transparent criteria, based on competence.

The same recommendation should apply to the proposed Governmental Council for cooperation with NGOs, where the NGO representatives should not be appointed by the Government; the Government's role should be confined to verifying the eligibility criteria.

-         Fiscal framework. Tax regulations for NGOs should be clearly specified.

-         Consultation. Civil society organisations should be more effectively included in public debates on draft laws in order to contribute to the process of aligning Montenegrin legislation with EU standards and best practices. The Social Council should be used as a more effective tool for consulting and informing the Social Partners, in order to address the entire range of relevant economic and social concerns.

-         Trade Union representativeness. The law currently under discussion must create a legislative framework establishing transparent and non-discriminatory criteria for the representativeness of trade union organisations in order enable a plurality of trade unions in the country.

The EESC further recommends that the European Commission (EC) take the following measures:

-         apply new indicators in the monitoring process,– one for the development of civil society and a second one for social dialogue – in order to help ensure that civil society is better and more effectively involved in the pre-accession process;

-         support forcivil society partnerships and capacity development should be stepped up and civil society organisations should feature more prominently in IPA programming.

As soon as Montenegro is granted candidate country status, the EESC , with the help of the other EU institutions, will set up an EU-Montenegro Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee in order to facilitate and monitor Montenegro's progress towards EU membership.