EK: Do not touch anything without consulting us

We are waiting for final confirmations on all the laws that we have sent, said the source of "Vijesti" from the Government. Easier conditions are being sought for the election of the director of RTCG, increase of own content for commercial TV, return of commercials to RTCG prime time...

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Photo: Djordje Cmiljanic
Photo: Djordje Cmiljanic
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

The European Commission (EC) has advised the authorities in Montenegro to refrain from introducing subsequent changes to any of the laws concerning the Report on the Assessment of the Fulfillment of Interim Benchmarks for Chapters 23 and 24 (IBAR), which it has already commented on, without prior consultation with Commission.

This is what the EU Delegation told "Vijesti" in response to the question of whether the EC approved the laws, the adoption of which is necessary for obtaining the IBAR in June, and which the Government was supposed to consider today. However, according to "Vijesti" information, the government decided to postpone today's thematic session to Monday.

"The EC is closely cooperating with Montenegro in order to help the country to meet the temporary benchmarks in the field of the rule of law as soon as possible. To that end, the Commission's services revised several key draft laws that are crucial for meeting the temporary benchmarks," said the Delegation.

As they said, they strongly encourage the Government of Montenegro to quickly proceed with the adoption and referral of the bill to the Parliament, integrating all the comments of the European Commission.

The source of "Vijesti" from the Government said that for all the laws "from IBAR" they received the opinion of the EC and that they are in the process of harmonization.

"We are waiting for final confirmations on all the laws we sent. "Nothing can be adopted if it has not been communicated with the EC, not a single article, not a single law," he said.

Before June, when IBAR is expected, the government should establish systemic laws in the field of justice and the fight against corruption and organized crime, among other amendments to: the Law on the Judicial Council and Judges, the Law on the State Prosecutor's Office, the Law on the Special State Prosecutor's Office, the Law on the prevention of corruption, the Law on Confiscation of Property Gains from Criminal Activity and the Code of Criminal Procedure. Also, it is necessary to adopt a set of media laws: the Law on Media, the Law on Public Media Service RTCG and the Law on Audio-Visual Media Services.

According to "Vijesti" information, one of the reasons for the postponement of the Government session is that the opinion of the EC on the amendments to the media laws sent by the Prime Minister's Office is awaited. Milojko Spajić, after the EC's positive opinion on the laws had already been received.

Spajić announced the thematic session of the Government yesterday at a press conference.

"We will have an opportunity regarding all the laws, which are related to the European agenda, we will have a session and we will be able to discuss it. We are duplicating the work, I didn't have time to familiarize myself with all the details of the law, there are too many laws, too much of everything," said Spajić.

"Vijesti" learns that on Thursday, at the session of the Commission for the Political System, as "Vijesti" learns, a discussion was held on media laws on which the EC gave a positive opinion with five technical recommendations that were adopted.

The participants of the Commission session told "Vijesta" that some ministers and deputy prime ministers expressed objections to the media laws, which mainly concern RTCG and television with a national frequency.

It was requested that the number of members of the RTCG Council not be increased from 9 to 11, that five years of work experience be required for the director, instead of ten as written in the proposed draft, that the Parliamentary Administrative Committee have the last word on which NGOs can propose Council members. RTCG, and not that it depends on the number of relevant NGOs that proposed candidates. It was also proposed that commercial televisions increase the share of their own production to 30 percent, and that RTCG be allowed to broadcast commercials in prime time again.

"Vijesti" sources say that it was clear from the discussion that the representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Media, who defended the draft already approved by the EC, do not want to accept these changes, so the amendments were sent to Brussels by the Prime Minister's Office.

The submitted amendments are allegedly very similar to the remarks made by the first group of 32 NGOs about 15 days ago, in which LGBT Forum Progres, Civil Alliance, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, KOD, ADP ZID... Some of these NGOs are close to the general to the director of RTCG Boris Raonic.

Another group of 38 NGOs sent a letter yesterday in which they mainly advocate that the current provisions, approved by the EC, remain in the draft law. In that group of NGOs are Media Center, Action for Human Rights (HRA), Center for Civic Education (CGO), Media Union, Union of Free Trade Unions...

Spajić announced consultations with "all social factors"

Spajić announced yesterday that in the next ten days he will hold consultations with all social factors when it comes to European integration.

As he said, he will invite heads of parliamentary clubs, representatives of the councils of minorities and all nations, non-governmental organizations and other actors, in order to create a strategic path for Montenegro towards the European Union.

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