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Montenegro Transitional Results Report 2018-2021

The Open Government Partnership is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. Action plan commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete ongoing reforms, or initiate an entirely new area. OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Civil society and government leaders use the evaluations to reflect on their progress and determine if efforts have impacted people’s lives.

The IRM has partnered with Elma Demir to carry out this evaluation. The IRM aims to inform ongoing dialogue around the development and implementation of future commitments. For a full description of the IRM’s methodology, please visit

This report covers the implementation of Montenegro’s second action plan for 2018-2021. In 2021, the IRM will implement a new approach to its research process and the scope of its reporting on action plans, approved by the IRM Refresh.[1] The IRM adjusted its Implementation Reports for 2018-2020 action plans to fit the transition process to the new IRM products and enable the IRM to adjust its workflow in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on OGP country processes.


Action Plan Implementation

The IRM Transitional Results Report assesses the status of the action plan’s commitments and the results from their implementation at the end of the action plan cycle. This report does not re-visit the assessments for “Verifiability,” “Relevance” or “Potential Impact.” The IRM assesses those three indicators in IRM Design Reports. For more details on each indicator, please see Annex I in this report.

General Highlights and Results

Montenegro’s second action plan included commitments closely related to their public administration reform and the country’s EU integration process. Activities included expanding online public participation tools, improving access to government information and open data, improving budget transparency, and conducting a study on whistleblower protection. Other activities involved introducing an online national identification document, online fee collection, and online tax filing.[2]

The adoption of the second action plan in 2018 was an important step toward reviving Montenegro’s OGP process, ending six years of inactivity in OGP. However, in August 2020, parliamentary elections resulted in the near total turnover in public administration leadership and staff. The Ministry of Public Administration was restructured into the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media (MPADSM), and the new point of contact (PoC) recommended new government representatives for Montenegro’s OGP multi-stakeholder forum, the Operations Team (OT).[3] These changes slowed implementation. By the end of the implementation period (August 2021), five commitments had limited completion and one was not started. Although the action plan included potentially impactful activities around online public participation (Commitment 2), access to information (Commitment 3), and budget transparency (Commitment 6), their limited completion prevented them from achieving noticeable results or changes in open government practice.

In 2021, the Government of Montenegro approved amendments to the government representation on the OT, in anticipation of the co-creation of the third action plan, due to be submitted in 2022. The ministry aims to continue improving the application of the Law on Free Access to Information and open data (Commitment 3) and updating the e-participation portal (Commitment 2).[4] In addition, one civil society stakeholder wishes for the comparative study on whistleblower protection to be part of the third action plan, with the aim of eventually adopting the 2019 EU Directive on whistleblower protection.[5] Stakeholders aim to carry over some of these commitments into the third action plan due to their limited completion during the second action plan and their close connection to Montenegro’s EU integration requirements.

COVID-19 Pandemic impact on implementation

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Montenegrin government requested an extension of the action plan by one year to August 2021 (originally scheduled to end in August 2020). Many activities involved publishing information online, developing online participation tools, or digitizing public services and were thus not directly affected by the pandemic. Although there was little communication around the status of the action plan, this was largely due to the high turnover in the public administration following the August 2020 elections, and not the pandemic. Nonetheless, as with other countries, the pandemic shifted the government’s priorities to urgent health matters, which likely impacted the implementation of the action plan and the OGP process in general.

The pandemic put pressure on Montenegro’s democratic institutions, particularly before the change in government from the August 2020 elections. A coalition of Montenegrin and international NGOs called on the Ministry of Public Administration to postpone public consultations in April 2020 on proposed reforms to the Law on Free Access to Information (part of Commitment 3) due to concerns over COVID-19 restrictions.[6] Although the ministry initially extended the public consultation to allow suggestions to be emailed for an additional 10 days,[7] the government ultimately halted the consultation and reform process until after the upcoming national elections.[8] The reform process restarted in 2021,[9] and the government held a roundtable discussion and consultations with NGOs before finally adopting the draft law in December 2021.[10] In March 2020, the National Infectious Diseases Coordination Body began a policy of publishing the names of individuals who were required to self-isolate, along with the municipality and street where they lived,[11] a move that was criticized by civil society over privacy concerns.[12] According to Freedom House, the pandemic changed the way that elections were run, but the electoral authorities took steps to enable citizens who were in quarantine to vote, and turnout was not affected by either the virus or restrictive public measures.[13]

[1] For more information, see:

[2] Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Montenegro Design Report 2018–2020,

[3] IRM researcher interview with Marija Jankovic, Directorate for Innovation, Openness of Public Administration and Cooperation with NGOs, Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media, 9 December 2021.

[4] Ibid.

[5] IRM researcher interview with Igor Pavicevic, Institute for Certified Accountants, 15 December 2021.

[6] Transparency International, Montenegro: Public debate on access to information law must be delayed,

[7] Access Info and Centre for Law and Democracy, COVID-19 Tracker,

[8] Access Info Europe, Montenegro access to information law reform halted,; and MANS, Postponing the debate at the time of the epidemic was the only decision in the public interest [Odlaganje rasprave u doba epidemije je bila jedina odluka koja je u javnom interesu],

[9] Government of Montenegro, Minister Srzentić in an interview for the portal Analitika: Public debate on the Law on Free Access to Information Soon [Ministarka Srzentić u intervjuu za portal Analitika: Uskoro javna rasprava o Zakonu o slobodnom pristupu informacijama],

[10] Government of Montenegro, Abazović: Government committed to increasing overall transparency [Abazović: Vlada posvećena povećanju ukupne transparentnosti],; and Government of Montenegro, The Government of Montenegro adopted the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information [Vlada Crne Gore usvojila Predlog zakona o izmjenama i dopunama Zakona o slobodnom pristupu informacijama],

[11] International Center for Not-for-profit Law (ICNL), COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker,

[12] Pobjeda, The Civic Alliance submitted an initiative on the constitutionality of the National Coordination Body for Communicable Diseases’ decision, 23 March 2020,

[13] Freedom House, Montenegro,


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