Consumers in Montenegro now have better protection thanks to the upgraded Central Information System for Consumer Protection (CISZP). The system also includes the www.potrosac.me web portal, where citizens can get informed about consumer rights and submit a complaint if they feel that their rights have been violated.
These are just some of the tangible results of the EU-funded project entitled “Technical Assistance for Alignment and Implementation of the EU Internal Market acquis – AIM II”. The final project conference recently took place in Podgorica. Speaking at the conference, Jasna Vujović of the Ministry of Economic Development pointed out that the project had helped strengthen Montenegrin institutions by ensuring more efficient harmonisation and application of EU legislation in the areas of free movement of goods and consumer protection.
“Some of the key benefits of the project include improvement of the legislative framework through adoption of a number of laws and bylaws within Chapter 1 and Chapter 28, as well as the introduction of two important standards in the Institute for Standardisation with regard to organisational quality management systems and information security and protection,” said Vujović.
The measures implemented as part of the project resulted in the High Court rendering the first final and non-appealable judgment in favour of consumers, following a collective lawsuit.
“The significance of this decision is reflected in the fact that Montenegrin courts have demonstrated their willingness to take into account EU law when interpreting national regulations that came about as a result of alignment with EU legislation. This will certainly contribute to the provisional closure of Chapter 28, which deals with consumer protection,“ Vujović added.
Yngve Engström, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, said that ensuring that goods can flow safely and freely between countries is at the very heart of the European project, thus allowing for better quality products and economic growth.
“At the same time, consumers need to be protected and be able to reap the benefits of a better economy. Aligning with EU standards in these areas contributes to free trade between Montenegro and the EU and supports investments,” said Engström.
According to him, this will bring growth and private sector development, as well as additional economic and social benefits for Montenegro’s citizens.
“Montenegro needs to catch up with delays in the adoption of important legal acts, which has prevented the country to further advance in negotiations under Chapter 1 and Chapter 28. To capitalise on the project results, it is especially important to ensure due functioning of market surveillance. The EU will continue its efforts to further support Montenegro on the path of harmonising its legislation,” Engström added.
The project “Technical Assistance for Alignment and Implementation of the EU Internal Market acquis – AIM II” was funded by the European Union with €1.4 million. It was managed by the Directorate for Finance and Contracting of the EU Assistance Funds (CFCU) of the Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare and implemented by a consortium led by IBF International Consulting. The aim of the AIM II project was to support the efforts of the Government of Montenegro in an advanced stage of negotiations on Montenegro’s EU accession with respect to harmonising national legislation with the EU acquis in the areas covered by Chapters 1 – Free Movement of Goods and Chapter 28 – Consumer and Health Protection.