This year’s report of the European Commission for Montenegro, unfortunately, repeats the same opinions that we had the opportunity to hear during the past years, especially when it comes to the fight against organized crime and grand corruption.
According to the opinion of the Commission, corruption remains widespread and poses a serious problem, while results in fighting corruption and organized crime remain limited.
MANS has been warning for quite a while now that the current results of the prosecution are not sufficient enough to be assessed as a definite improvement compared to the previous period and a clear evidence of the political will to fight organized crime and grand corruption. This is confirmed in the report of the Commission, which does not directly praise the work of the prosecution, despite the “processing” of Budva group, which the prosecution continually presents as a tangible outcome of their work.
Instead, there is still criticism with regard to the inadequacy of financial investigations, especially when it comes to the forfeiture of proceeds of crime and money laundering.
The important message of this year’s report is that the European Commission still points to the absence of an appropriate epilogue of the “Tape Recording” affair, while when it comes to this year’s election, only the opinion of ODIHR is given. In this regard, we expect that the Commission will continue to insist on increasing the transparency and legality of the electoral process, but also to shed light on all election irregularities that occurred during the October elections.
What particularly concerns MANS is the fact that there is no record of progress in the field of freedom of expression compared to the last year, and that the practice of targeting civil society activists in certain media is being continued. Furthermore, there is no significant advancing in the prosecution of attacks on journalists.
Finally, the constant repeating of the same demands related to corruption and organized crime is a clear indication of how much the current government is committed to European values and the integration process. Additionally, the reforms limited to the legal framework and institution-building without concrete results in implementation clearly prove strong interest within the government to slow down and defer the integration process.
Director of MANS Investigation Center