The legislation clearly prescribes powers as well as the limitations of powers of the Government towards functioning of CSOs. However, these limitations are at time overstepped and the Government directly or indirectly interferes in the work of CSOs. This is usually done through excessive audits, non-funding of programs and projects, but also through the National broadcaster RTCG, where political interference of the State is noticeable, where critically oriented organisations are not welcome and are often boycotted.
CSOs are subject to audit, inspections, evaluations, and similar types of control and monitoring according to the same law that applies to other legal entities, such as companies, corporations. This can be at times excessive, as for instance an organization that has one or zero employees or annual budget of less than 10,000.00 EUREUR, may experience the same kind of control as a corporation with 120 employees and revenue of several million EUR. All CSOs are obliged to submit balance sheet and income statement to the Tax Administration during first quarter of the year for the last year. The need for creating new regulation for submitting financial reports to Tax Administration is recognized in the Strategy on improving enabling environment for the work of CSOs in Montenegro 2018-2020. However, this has not been realized yet.
Penal provisions are prescribed by the Law on Non-Governmental Organizations, but also by Criminal Law or any other law that applies to every legal entity. Sanctions stipulated by the Law on NGOs are proportionate to breaches made. They are monetary sanctions which are regulated as misdemeanors. The Ministry of Public Administration and the Inspection Directorate did not issue any monetary sanctions against NGOs in 2019. Based on answers of CSOs from online questionnaire, 4% (two CSOs) of organizations reported they were sanctioned due to noncompliance – half of them consider the sanction proportional, while the other half believes the sanction was excessive for the breach. These organizations stated they had the opportunity to appeal in court, but they did not use that right. The institutions did not report cases of appeal in court.
CSOs are allowed to dissolve, according to the law on NGOs. The NGO will be deleted from the register: upon expiry of the period for which it was established, within three days from the last day of that period; on the basis of the decision on termination of work; based on the decision to ban the work of a non-governmental organization; on the basis of the decision to terminate the bankruptcy or voluntary liquidation procedure under summary procedure in accordance with the laws governing the procedure of bankruptcy or voluntary liquidation.
0 – 20 Fully disabling environment20 – 40 Disabling environment
40 – 60 Partially enabling environment60 – 80 Enabling environment
80 – 100 Fully enabling environment
The Network is also deleted from the register at the request of members of the association, if the number of members of the association is reduced below the minimum number of founders prescribed by law, and the competent body of the association does not make a decision on the admission of new members within one year.
Based on answers from the online questionnaire, 6.25% of organizations experienced threats by government officials, while 4.16% responded that the government intruded into their internal work, whereas they did not specify what kind of threats they experienced, and the same number said they experienced unannounced inspections by the state authorities. The Inspection directorate stated there were four inspections of CSOs conducted during 2019. Three of those inspections were conducted by the initiative of a physical or legal entity and one was conducted within the regular activities of the Inspection. One of the organizations was issued a warning to remove all noted irregularities, but no monetary fines were addressed.