The legal framework clearly defines the standards on the involvement of CSOs in all policy-making processes. Various documents provide the basis for the involvement of CSOs in policy-making and legislation preparation at the level of the Government and at the level of the Parliament (Constitution, Law for Referendum and Other Forms of Direct Vote of the Citizens, Law on the Government, Law on Organization and Operation of State Administrative Bodies, Rulebook of the Government, Strategy for Cooperation of the Government with the Civil Sector, Code of Good Practices for Participation of the Civil Sector in Policy-Making Process, Methodology for Regulatory Impact Assessment, and the Guidelines for the ministries on the way to proceed in the process of regulatory impact assessment).
The Rulebook of the Government stipulates that the draft-laws is to be published on the website of the line ministry and the ENER. Furthermore, the Rulebook provides to the CSOs and the general public a minimum of 20 days for consultations of the draft-acts.
Part of the state institutions continued to invite and involve the public/CSOs to comment on laws and policy initiatives at an early stage and with sufficient time to formulate and provide opinion. There is a significant increase in respecting the deadlines for electronic consultations, and in general in the continuous involvement in all key legislation by using different ways of consultations (working groups, e-consultations, wider consultations, Council, etc.).
Namely, according to the data gathered from the ENER monitoring for 2019, a total number of 228 laws that were drafted at the Government sessions were reviewed in the Parliament. Out of them 49,6% were published on ENER for public consultations and only for four (4) draft-laws the minimal deadline of 20 days for consultations was not respected.
However, the results from the survey show a slightly unenthusiastical image, that almost a third of the CSOs (26.38%) agree that CSOs are involved in early-stage of law preparation and creation of policies, then, 38.65% CSOs do not agree and 34.97% do not know.
0 – 20 Fully disabling environment20 – 40 Disabling environment
40 – 60 Partially enabling environment60 – 80 Enabling environment
80 – 100 Fully enabling environment
Chart 13. Please select a response regarding the statements relating to the participation of CSOs in consultation on drafting laws and policy making (%):
Similarly, concerning the access to relevant information, just above one third (32.52%) of CSOs agree that they have access to relevant information before consultations, 30.67% CSOs do not agree, and 36.81% do not know. In terms of substantial consultation, 36.8% CSOs suggestions were considered (25.2% most of them were considered, 8.6% few were considered and 3,1% said all of our suggestions were considered). Then, 3.1% CSOs said their suggestions were not accepted.
In general, the cooperation between the Government and the civil society has been improving. According to the survey, last year 61.3% CSOs cooperated with state institutions (e.g. participation in policy creation, implementation of activities, etc.). Then, 22.1% CSOs cooperated more than five times, 2.,8% CSOs cooperated aboutfive times, and 10.4% CSOs cooperated only once. Then, 28.2% CSOs did not need to cooperate with state institutions, and 10.4% (17) tried but failed.
Throughout the year the CSOs were involved in the preparation of certain laws important for the operation of CSOs, including: Law on Fight Against Corruption Law on Public Information, Law on Youth, Law on Free Legal Aid, Law on Public Procurement. The civil society was successful in its efforts to regulate the Anti-Discrimnation Law and the Law on Termination of Pregnancy, after several years of advocacy.
According to the responses in the survey, which also mentions these legal acts, 48.5% of the CSOs were involved in the policy creation and law-making processes (e.g. laws, bylaws, national and local strategies, action plans, etc.). More precisely, the CSOs took part (provided opinion online, participated in working groups, had consultative meetings, expert support, etc.) in the preparation of around 38 laws. Also, the CSOs were involved and consulted in the preparation of 22 other policy and strategic documents.
However, the CSOs were not consulted on certain politically sensitive issues in 2019 , such as the Draft-law on public prosecution and the Draft-law on public gatherings, Law for Use of languages.
The strengthening of the public servants’ capacities to involve CSOs, is corroborated by law (Law on Administrative Officers Law on Public Sector Employees), defining the competencies of MISA when preparing and adopting the annual Program for generic training of administrative officers. According to the Strategy, a specific training program is set to be developed for public servants to effectively organize public consultations.
According to the survey and in terms of the CSOs’ perception of the public servants’ capacity to involve CSOs in the consultation processes, 15.95% CSOs agree, 41.10% CSOs disagree that the designated public servants facilitated effective engagement of CSOs in the consultation processes and 42.94% do not know. Furthermore, 17.18% agree, while 39.88% do not agree that the majority of civil servants responsible for drafting documents have the necessary capacities to involve CSOs; 42.94% said they do not know. The overall mandate for monitoring the CSO’s involvement in the policy making process is given to the MISA, to prepare an annual report on the conducted consultations based on the inputs provided by the different institutions with the mandate to propose laws.