June 16, 2020 - Considering the content of the European Commission's working document on the situation in the field of the rule of law - the "Non-Paper", the Association of Lawyers of Montenegro and the Civic Alliance, consider it necessary that all actors from political life, judiciary, and civil society recognize their individual responsibilities. It is crucial to eliminate the "weak points" of the system to move the EU integration process from a state of dormancy and maintain an active chance for Montenegrin society to become part of the EU community.
The Association of Lawyers and the Civic Alliance see the European Commission document in the form of a "non-paper" as a response from the EU to the ongoing dysfunctional democracy, the situation unfolding in many institutions, the "third mandate", and the "missed chances" to achieve the rule of law.
As civil society organizations, we consider it essential that Montenegro respect the recommendations from the EC document and fulfill the tasks identified from the negotiation process contained in Chapter 23 and thus return to the operation of "consolidation of democracy." For these goals to be met, the institutions should restore confidence in the justice system. "Especially since the non-election of the leaders of these institutions can no longer be justified by "bad constitutional solutions." Brussels' objection is not aiming to change the Constitution but to achieve political will to consistently implement the Constitution," declares the joint statement from the Lawyers' Association and the Civic Alliance.
The key to ending the ongoing institutional dysfunction lies in the institutions themselves and their apparent lack of capacity to produce progress. Also, the functioning of the political/parliamentary system is a broader political agreement that requires a change in political culture.
"Civil society, professional organizations, and civic associations also bear part of their responsibility in the community's overall effort to combat endemic corruption, high-level crime, and weaknesses in the functioning of leading institutions for the rule of law. In the future, the Council for the Rule of Law will additionally articulate their positions on the need to build Montenegro on the foundations of the rule of law," the statement added.
The joint statement of the Association and the Alliance is the result of the intention to more strongly identify weaknesses and integrate broader social potential in public policy to prevent partitocracy, nationalism, and monopolies from pulling the entire country in the opposite direction from the defined EU integration process.