27 Oct 14
Montenegro Rushes Through Anti-Lobbying Law
After the EU criticized its anti-corruption measures, Montenegro is hurriedly pushing through an anti-lobbying law aimed at making decision-making processes more transparent.
Montenegro’s government on Thursday approved a new bill that imposes limits, rules and penalties on lobbying.
With penalties of up to 20,000 euros, the government aims to curb lobbying-related corruption in the public sector – the illegal involvement of public officials, failures to report contacts with lobbyists, as well as receipts of gifts and services.
State servants will now be required to submit reports to the National Directorate for Anti-Corruption Initiative with five days of contact with a lobbyist. The official note will be also published on the website of the Directorate.
The recent EU Progress Report on Montenegro criticized delays in adopting important regulations in the area of fighting corruption in Montengro – such as a law on the financing of political parties, on a special prosecution office, and regulations on lobbying.
In response, the government has asked parliament to dicsuss the laws in a shortened procedure, to be adopted by the end of the year.
The head of the Directorate for Anti-Corruption Initiative, Vesna Ratkovic, said the law established a new institution in the legal system, which would serve as a legitimate and desirable form of influence in the decision-making process.
“Aligning this law with best international practices and standards, institutions will fight corruption more efficiently and their work will be more transparent,” she added.
Although no single lobbying firm is actually registered in Montenegro, under the new law, any firms working in this field in future can expect strict rules on obtaining work permits, on their methods of collecting information and on reporting on contacts and income.
The association of lobbyists of Montenegro welcomed the adoption of a new legal framework but expressed doubt about the possibility of a public register controling all activities that can be defined as lobbying.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)