“The past four years of implementing the Public Administration Reform Strategy have been marked by close and productive cooperation between the Government, the European Commission, the EU Delegation in Montenegro and SIGMA. This proves that a successful public administration reform requires strong political will from all the relevant stakeholders and, to this end, adequate continuation in meeting the agreed commitments needs to be ensured,” Thomas Hagleitner, Head of Montenegro Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations said at the Eight Meeting of the Special Group on Public Administration Reform jointly established by the European Commission and Montenegro.
The meeting, which took place in a videoconference format, was opened by Minister of Public Administration Suzana Pribilović.
Minister Pribilović noted that the assessments form the Commission’s annual report indicate that significant results have been made in the past year in the field of public administration reform, despite the additional challenge posed by the global health crisis. She said that public administration reform is one of the Montenegrin Government’s priority tasks, adding that the past year has seen visible progress in the areas of the civil service system and human resource management, mid-term policy planning, rationalisation of public administration, but also in improving the quality of service provision to citizens, businesses and other stakeholders. This period has been marked by the implementation of the new Law on Public Administration, which has created conditions for full reorganisation of public administration, thus contributing to further alignment with EU standards. In addition, we have worked to align special laws with the Law on Public Administration and I would like to underline that the implementation of the special laws has also been continually monitored in the context of the organisation of public administration and that an electronic register of all institutions in the public administration system has been prepared,” the Minister stated. She recalled that, in the past period, emphasis was placed on the monitoring and analysis of the new Law on Civil Servants and State Employees and the Law on Local Self-Government, with a view to ensuring a professional and depoliticised public administration, as well as on new electronic services.
Hagleitner underlined the importance of maintaining continuity in the process of public administration reform. He remarked that a professional, merit-based and service-oriented public administration is of vital importance for Montenegro’s EU accession process. Montenegro is expected to retain full commitment to the principles of public administration reform and to continue with the actions and results achieved under the current Public Administration Reform Strategy. “There are several initiatives that are of critical importance for the overall reform, which are still underway and it is, therefore, important to continue with the planned dynamics,” Hagleitner stated.
Having discussed the activities that have been implemented to ensure the realisation of the key objectives from relevant strategic documents, the meeting found that good progress has been made in the implementation of the conclusions from the previous meeting. The plan for the coming period is to draft a new Public Administration Reform Strategy for the period 2021 to 2025, which will be an opportunity to intensify efforts to build a modern and efficient public administration. It was noted that the coming period should focus on strengthening transparency of work in public administration, rationalisation of the organisation of public administration, professionalization and de-politicisation, especially considering the results achieved and the past experience of implementing the previous strategic framework.
The Special Group on Public Administration is established in order to advance the existing structure for the implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, focusing on public administration reform in Montenegro. The Special Group’s work is aimed at monitoring progress in the areas defined by relevant strategic documents, including the Public Administration Reform Strategy, Public Finance Management Programme and other documents.