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PM Marković meets NGO representatives: We need to join forces to achieve goal – membership in EU

PM Marković meets NGO representatives: We need to join forces to achieve goal – membership in EU
Published date: 22.07.2019 11:40 | Author: PR Service

Ispis Print

Podgorica, Montenegro (22 July 2019) -- The Government is aware of the civil society's significance in Montenegro’s accession to the EU and therefore we are sincerely committed to boosting direct dialogue between the Government and the civil society, Prime Minister Duško Marković stressed.

"I am of the opinion that your specific knowledge, practical experience and critical point of view, framed in concrete and constructive dialogues, can raise the quality and speed of our negotiation process," PM Marković noted at the opening of the round table titled "Cooperation between the Government and NGOs in the process of accession to the EU”, initiated by the Secretariat – General to the Government. 

Expressing expectation that today’s dialogue will be beneficial to both the Government and the NGO sector, the Prime Minister reiterated the invitation addressed to the civil sector and political parties: to unite our potentials, knowledge and strength in order to jointly achieve the most important national goal – joining the EU.

"I appeal to restore confidence in working together because that is the way to boost the synergy of all Montenegro’s potentials. That may not be the only way but it is without any doubt the safest and the fastest path to our membership in the EU," the Prime Minister pointed out. 

Referring to the frequency of mutual dialogue, the Prime Minister emphasised that this implies that the integration is a current and inspirational  topic and that neither the Government nor NGOs are completely satisfied with the level of achieved cooperation. Prime Minister Marković stressed that Montenegro is entering a new, more demanding phase of the closure of chapters and that the leadership structure in Brussels will change after the European elections. 

"We believe, of course, that the strategies and the EU position when it comes to the enlargement to the Western Balkans will remain unchanged, but it is a fact that sometimes a lot depends on the personal involvement and dedication of those who will get a chance to put this strategy and these positions into practice," Prime Minister Marković stated, hopeful that there is significant scope for synergy of our potentials regarding this issue. 
He remained that Montenegro was the first country negotiating with the EU to significantly include NGOs in the negotiating structure and that the number of the civil society representatives was not reduced during the recent rationalisations of the negotiating structure. 

"With this decision, the Government has actually shown that it is truly open to the all civil society representatives through their direct participation in the negotiating working groups," PM Marković noted, adding that a number of the NGO representatives does not attend the meetings of the working groups, and that less than a half of the total number of NGO representatives regularly respond to the invitation of the heads of working groups. 

The Prime Minister stated that he would like to hear an explanation for this, because we are witnessing that, instead of the debate taking place within the working groups, where the direct involvement can contribute to the concrete and argumentative public policy improvement, a number of the NGO chooses media space for the articulation of their, usually political rather than expert opinions: "I consider that this approach does not contribute to improving the situation in the negotiation process to which the NGOs committed themselves within the working groups." 

The Prime Minister also said that sometimes there is an impression that representatives of the Montenegrin NGOs transparently defend and represent every position of European negotiators, forgetting that they are actually members, figuratively speaking, of the Montenegrin team.

"Therefore, it would be logical that we are one team, and that the EU has its own team! I get the impression that we do not behave always like we are aware of the fact, and I think that we should established an open and uncompromised dialogue within working groups and that on the basis of such dialogue we come to a common platform, which we will then defend together in dialogue with partners from Brussels," the Prime Minister said.

Reiterating unambiguous willingness for cooperation and full understanding of the role and significance of the civil sector, the Prime Minister called on representatives of NGOs to raise objections to the Government and the Prime Minister in the context of cooperation with them.

"I would be happy to hear from you if you recognise all the potentials of civil society and separate them from the parapolitical action of a number of NGOs. It seems illogical that the Government is criticised on every occasion and on every topic and that its results in terms of economic growth, financial stability and reduced unemployment is not acknowledged,"Prime Minister Marković underlined.

He added that it does not seem logical to him that the same NGO circles regularly pledge support to the part of the government personalised by opposition parties: "I am not talking about the overall NGO sector, but it does not seem logical for the non-government sector to be, as a rule, anti-government."