In 2010, the declaration of the European Council granted Montenegro the official status of candidate for membership of the European Union. This is the fourth country from the dismemberment of the former Yugoslavia to have the opportunity to join the organization. However, accession could take some time and not only on account of the disapproval of Jean-Claude Juncker for further enlargement. Laborious efforts are to provide mostly in terms of corruption, which is the misuse of power received by delegation for private purposes. Indeed, the matter is very recorded in the surroundings of police officers, members of the Government and Parliament, as well as customs officers and doctors.

The economist Vasilije Kostic, interviewed by Le Monde in 2012 after the presidential elections, well explained that the fight against corruption is a key factor for economic progress and modernization of the country. Montenegro absolutely needs foreign capital to develop and this issue flees the investors away; whereas the consequences of the 2009 economic crisis are still present.

The European Commission has noted some improvement with the implementation of legislation in the areas of financing of political parties, prevention of conflicts of interest and public procurement. As for the capacities of regulatory bodies, they must still be reinforced but are in progress. Montenegro has also corrected its results concerning investigations, prosecutions and convictions in corruption cases, but the number remains low and no seizure or confiscation of goods have been ordered in such cases for now.

Citizens also have a step forward to make. Indeed, only few people report the incidents for various reasons: they receive a benefit from it, perceive it as common practice, bribe voluntarily as a sign of gratitude… They don’t think something constructive will happen if they warn about the bribery and some of them, are even satisfied with the system in place. It can, for instance, help getting a job in public administration easily. Still, a support could be raise. It is untenable for Montenegrins to have to pay bribes on a regular basis and this explains why they often put corruption in second place of concerns after safety when they are asked.

Negotiations with the EU are still ongoing, but they may well stop if the measures are not effective enough. It is then hoped that political and economic pressures will be enough to speed up the process as it has been the case with the arrest on September of the former mayor of Bar, Zarko Pavicevic, for suspicion of abuse of office relevant to his private construction company. From my lowly perspective having travelled the country and discussed the topic, I would say optimism is in order even if the path is treacherous

 

SOURCES:

Conclusions concernant le Monténégro, European Commission, 2012

< http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2012/package/mn_conclusions_2012_fr.pdf >

« Monténégro : enrayer la corruption et relancer l’économie, missions du nouveau pouvoir », Le Monde, 2012

< http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2012/10/15/la-coalition-sortante-en-tete-des-legislatives-au-montenegro_1775329_3214.html >

Corruption in Montenegro: Bribery as experienced by the population, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2011

< https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/statistics/corruption/Montenegro_corruption_report_web.pdf