Transparency International called the ejection of its partner organisation MANS from a European Union anti-corruption working group on Montenegro accession completely unacceptable and an indication that the government is not taking the fight against corruption seriously.
On 28 April, Vuk Maras of MANS was removed from the Working Group for Chapter 23 by unilateral decision of the Montenegro Minister of European Affairs, Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic, despite the fact that he had been elected by due process.
“The government has removed the strongest anti-corruption organisation from the working group on anti-corruption without giving any reason. This is a violation of procedures and sends the wrong message about its attitude to fighting corruption,” said Cornelia Abel, Regional Coordinator for Europe and Central Asia at Transparency International.
Chapter 23 deals with judiciary, anti-corruption, fundamental rights and the rights of citizens in the European Union accession process. Montenegro has developed a detailed action plan to address these issues and this working group was created to monitor and support the implementation of the action plan.
Transparency International is calling for Maras to be reinstated and for clear commitments from the government that civil society will play a role in monitoring the implementation of the Chapter 23 action plan. For now Maras has been replaced by a representative of another non-governmental organisation.
Montenegro scored 45 out of 100 on the 2016 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, indicating a significant corruption problem in the country.
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