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PM Marković at CRNVO conference: Montenegro needs NGO sector ready to work in interest of all citizens, immune to daily politics

PM Marković at CRNVO conference: Montenegro needs NGO sector ready to work in interest of all citizens, immune to daily politics
Published date 20.09.2019 11:40 | Author PR Service

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Prime Minister Duško Marković said today that the Government should not be reminded or urged to improve the environment for civil society, but we should jointly look for a way - to make that environment as favourable as possible in the interest of the citizens and the state of Montenegro. The Prime Minister expressed belief that the decision taken almost three years ago after assuming the office to hold the first meeting with representatives of the civil sector has shown the Government's commitment from the very first day.

"In this context - let me reiterate that the civil sector is knocking on the open door when it comes to improving the environment for its work and activities," the Prime Minister said at the opening of the conference "Civil Society in Montenegro - How to create a favourable environment for civil society" organised by the Centre for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations (CRNVO).

PM Marković said that in his term of office, when it comes to the Government's cooperation with the civil sector, the normative framework was strengthened; the financial support system was strengthened and the dialogue with institutions was improved.

"This, among other things, was recognised by the European Commission in its 2019 Report for Montenegro, emphasising that 'the legal, institutional and financial environment in which civil society organizations function as a whole was improved'," Prime Minister Duško Marković stressed.

The Prime Minister reminded that the Law on State Administration prescribes the obligation of cooperation of state administration bodies with non-governmental organizations, and that such approach is further strengthened by the adoption of the Decree on the election of NGO representatives in the working bodies of the state administration and organising public discussion within the preparation of laws and strategies, as well as that the Strategy for Improving the Enabling Environment for the Activities of NGOs 2018-2020 has been adopted.

"This approach was further strengthened by the adoption of the Decree on the election of NGO representatives in the working bodies of the state administration and organising public discussion within the preparation of laws and strategies. I also remind that the Strategy for Improving the Enabling Environment for the Activities of NGOs 2018-2020 has been adopted," PM Marković said.

The normative foundation thus established has been upgraded with a system of financial support. Namely, the Law on Amendments to the Law on Non-Governmental Organizations defined a new way of financing from the Budget, which created the opportunity to support the work of the non-governmental sector more generously and transparently, and in accordance with the priorities.

Prime Minister Duško Marković recalled that 17.5% more funding was allocated to NGOs last year than in 2017 through public calls in 13 ministries. "This year 15 ministries announced 33 public calls for proposals for projects and programmes of non-governmental organizations, with over EUR 3.5 million (3,642,947.72) earmarked for this purpose," the Prime Minister pointed out.

PM Marković said that dialogue was the last pillar of cooperation between the Government and the civil sector, apart from the normative and financial aspect.

"Montenegro does not need an isolated non-governmental sector, but a non-governmental sector ready to work in the interest of all citizens. Therefore, the non-governmental sector immune to daily politics and running political campaigns on either side. The sector that would be eyes and ears where state protection and control mechanisms do not reach. The sector that would warn and fix things. Only such sector - should be financed even more strongly by citizens' money. As part of the institutional dialogue, it was precisely when the Ministry of Public Administration was constituted for the first time that a unique address was established in the Government from which we conduct this important dialogue," Prime Minister Duško Marković noted.

The Prime Minister said that the Council for Cooperation between State Administration Bodies and Non-Governmental Organizations has been defined as a forum for solving open issues and problems that the non-governmental sector faces and that this body has potential.

"There is a full willingness in the Government, and dialogue requires interlocutors, who are responsible for its success and failure. Likewise, the intensity and quality of the dialogue is not measured by the number of meetings with the Prime Minister, but by the appreciation of all institutions in the system that are mandated to conduct that dialogue. That is why, at the very end, I want to raise the issue of trust and respect. Laws and procedures must be respected, whether you like it or not, and there is no compromise on this. Not in half, not in part, but in full. Are they good and should we change them - please talk about it and judge objectively. If we chose to participate in the policy-making process - there is no escaping responsibility. For example, one cannot ignore work in working bodies or wait for certain processes to be completed, so that, from a distance, those same processes left by their actors can be criticized. It is not a responsible and fair approach," the Prime Minister said.

The conference brought together representatives of the non-governmental sector, the state administration and the diplomatic corps. The Prime Minister concluded that in a society that seeks dialogue and progress, with the stated openness of the Government and its commitment, the thesis that the state and the civil sector are on opposite sides - should be doomed to defeat, wherever it came from.

"I will repeat the message from the beginning of my address – the non-governmental sector is a partner to the Government and we are ready to strengthen this cooperation in the common interest in every respect. I congratulate the Centre for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations on the 20th anniversary of its establishment, with the conviction that we will welcome the next in an even better social environment, to which a positive impetus – I am convinced – will be given by this conference," Prime Minister Duško Marković epmhasised.

PUBLIC RELATIONS SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTENEGRO