In September 2018, WFD launched the three-year Western Balkans Democracy Initiative to strengthen political parties, parliamentary practice and democratic institutions in the region.
The programme in Montenegro will engage more young people in democratic institutions and on the decisions that impact their lives.
EU accession negotiations are the primary focus for institutions in Montenegro. Progress under Chapters 23 and 24 are central to the process, requiring the implementation of certain reforms before negotiations in other areas are taken forward.
Support for Montenegrin political parties with cross-party dialogue and to civil society organisations on transparency, accountability and effective policy-making will contribute to this reform agenda.
As part of the Western Balkans Democracy Initiative, launched in January 2019, the programme in Montenegro will educate young people about the role they can play in democratic institutions. To do this, we will help create space to promote issues that are important to young people in the media, as well as starting a network that would support action on issues that are important to young people. The network will include youth from different sectors including national and local institutions, local organisations and academia.
Establishing a successful Parliamentary Budget Office within the Parliament of Montenegro will enhance the culture of effective financial scrutiny, thus assisting the country in the process of European integration. In September 2016, the PBO had started functioning with two researchers, under the aegis of WFD, in the premises of the Parliament of Montenegro. The plan is to have the PBO fully transferred to the Parliament by March 2018, integrated into the parliamentary service structure and continuing to help the MPs analyse and scrutinise the state budget.
In its work so far, the PBO has been successful in helping MPs in deliberation of key financial and budgetary documents, such as the 2017 state budget law as well as 2017-2020 Fiscal Strategy.
In 2016, we also worked with parliamentary researchers who completed an intensive training programme, consisting of 10 modules on various aspects of financial analysis and preparation of effective analytical papers. Cooperation was established with the PBO in the Serbian Parliament and the Financial Scrutiny Unit of the Scottish Parliament. Additionally, the website of the PBO has been created, intended to make the PBO products and budgetary data visualizations available not only to the MPs but to the general public in Montenegro.