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The first joint consultative committee hearing on the “Efficiency of the use of IPA funds” between the Committees on European integration and Economy, finance and budget took place in the Parliament of Montenegro

May 11th 2015, Podgoricа, Montenegro

Mr. Emil Atanasovski, Director of the WFD Western Balkans program addressing the MPs in the Montenegrin Parliament 

On May 11th 2015 in Podgorica, the Committee on European integration and the Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget organized a joint consultative hearing in the Parliament of Montenegro. The topic of the consultative hearing was “Efficiency of the use of IPA funds and the performance of the Audit Authority responsible for the audit of EU funds”.

Committee MPs and various government representatives present at the hearing, including Montenegro's chief EU negotiator, expressed various opinions and positions on the implementation of projects from the IPA programme in Montenegro. They raised the issue regarding the lack of fiscal capacity of the local self-governments and the challenges of pre-financing and co-financing of IPA projects and the system of responsibility in the case of inefficient use of funds.

“The organization of this consultative hearing is just another proof of the good cooperation between the Committee on Economy, finance and budget and the Committee on European integration. Until now, the Parliament of Montenegro didn’t dedicate an adequate amount of time on conducting oversight on the spending of IPA funds and that is why it was necessary to organize this consultative hearing.” – concluded Mr. Aleksandar Damjanovic, Chairperson of the Committee on Economy, Finance and European Integration.

According to Mr. Slaven Radunovic, Chairperson of the Committee on European integration:

“The two committees recognise the co-financing of the IPA projects as an important issue and it is crucial for Montenegro that the level of absorption of the funds rises. When you visit the municipalities, it is obvious that many of them have a different approach to absorption of IPA funds. There are great examples where municipalities have established offices that work only on writing projects and even help other municipalities which show interest, but there are also municipalities that are surprisingly bad when it comes to the application and implementation of projects. These are issues that have to be addressed.”

The Chief Negotiator with the EU and the national coordinator for the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance to Montenegro Mr Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic, Chief Auditor of the Audit Authority Mrs Mila Barjaktarović, Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities Mr Refik Bojadžić and Coordinator of the Network of municipal projects, manager Mr Darko Mrvaljević had an opportunity to speak and present opinions before both committees.

Mr. Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic, National IPA coordinator in Montenegro noted that: “Even though Montenegro still has a centralised system of management of the IPA funds and the projects are applied for at the EU Delegation in Podgorica, we hope that very soon the projects will be applied for at the Ministry. Since December 2014, after fulfilling all the preconditions, Montenegro received accreditation for moving towards a decentralized system of implementation of the IPA programmes. The IPA structure is already in place with 170 public servants on different levels of government, having public servants in every ministry dedicated specifically to IPA”.

Emil Atanasovski, the director of the WFD Western Balkan program also addressed the MPs and participants present and presented relevant information on the IPA and IPA2 funds and ways how parliaments can improve and increase supervision over this financial assistance instrument.

At the end of the consultative hearing, the two committees stated that they will agree on proposals for assessments and positions that will later be distributed to the other institutions.

This consultative hearing comes as a result and follow-up of the activities that were implemented within the Network of Parliamentary Committees on Economy, Finance and European Integration of Western Balkans, supported and funded by the WFD Western Balkans program.