On 22nd December 2020, the Centre for Democratic Transition (CDT) organized an on-line conference named “Openness as a precondition for government control and accountability”, which was attended by the Bureau of Metrology’s independent advisor for public relations, Andjelika Durutovic.
A research study under the name of “Openness of the institutions of executive and legislative power in Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina” was conducted in the first half of 2020. The Regional Openness Index measures the degree to which institutions in the region are open for citizens and society, and is based on the principles of transparency, accessibility, integrity and effectiveness.
Biljana Papovic, the CDT Deputy Executive Director, emphasized that the data showed that the institutions record a decrease in openness, as well as that the decrease is a part of the trend of openness decrease which was present throughout the previous four years.
According to this year’s measuring, as Papovic said, the Government of North Macedonia, with its 75 percent of fulfilled openness criteria, has caught up with the Government of Montenegro. The Government of Montenegro, she added, fulfills 59 percent of the set criteria, which means that it is sharing the second place with the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ministries in Montenegro, with an average result of 58 percent, are the most open in the region. In the previous year, the most open one was the Ministry of Education, with 79 percent of fulfilled indicators, and the least open one was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a result of 37 percent.
“These differences in the openness levels speak additionally for the fact that it is necessary to work on the development of openness policies at the level of the entire executive power. The openness decreases as we move towards the authorities which are closer to citizens and have direct contact with them. The disappointing results at Montenegrin administrative bodies, which fulfill only a third of set openness indicators are still the best in the region”, concluded Papovic.
The Minister of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media, Tamara Srzentic, said at the conference that openness is a precondition for strengthening trust among public administration and society as a whole. As she pointed out, the use of new technologies, with the aim of improving accessibility and communication with citizens will be the new government’s priority, and speed, efficiency, quality, and provision of services are, as she said, a precondition of society and economy’s development. Minister Srzentic announced that new solutions for the Government’s website and e-Government’s portal will be presented soon. “We don’t want a tick on paper, and a counter desk, closed doors and administration’s silence in reality, as obstacles in development,” concluded Srzentic.
The results of openness of executive power research was conducted by the CDT in cooperation with partners from the Metamorphosis Foundation from North Macedonia, the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA) from Serbia, and the Civic Association “Why Not?” from Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).