In recent years, a certain progress about good governance is noticed, however the current situation is not satisfactory, because of the discrepancy in the regulations, the significant political influence in the state bodies and the lack of human and technical resources for implementation of new standards.
At this workshop, organized by CRTA and held on 19 May 2016, the partner organizations from eight countries, plus the countries of the Visegrad group, the interested parties from the institutions, civil society, international organizations and businesses discussed about various methods for measuring the good governance level as well as about proposed methods for improving the good governance mechanisms.
Gordana Chomikj, an MP, assessed that the situation with good governance in Serbia is rather poor, because most people don’t mind it at all. “Good governance is simple, if done in compliance with the regulations. The refusal to do so lies in the matrix of deduction: it would be good to have a good administration, but we need someone to appear and to implement it”, said Chomikj.
The deputy commissary for public information Stanojla Mandikj, pointed out to the high percentage of ignoring the information access requests submitted by the citizens to the institutions, i.e. 87%.
Marija Kujachikj from the Directorate for Electronic Governance, stated that for two years already, the directorate is measuring the level of services available on the institutions’ websites. She said the e-participation platform, which aims to promote electronic discussions regarding the regulations, is not developed because the authorities do not publish all of the laws, and because of the low number of published comments and views regarding the published regulations.
She emphasized that the Law on General Administrative Procedure came into force on 8 June, which obliges that the administration should receive documents which do not exist in other state bodies, but the administration should not expect this from the citizens, and according to her, this will contribute to the strengthening of good governance.
Slobodan Markovkj, IT policies advisor in the National Register of Internet Domains in Serbia, said that bad governance is caused by the unhelpful civil servants. He added that the resources projected for implementing the law are too low and as an example mentioned the insufficient number of people in the governmental systematization who follow the processes and notice the operative problems. Another problem according to Markovikj is the low level of technical capacity for implementing the law.
“The new Law on General Administrative Procedure will oblige to information exchange via the bodies of the state administration, but our institutions do not have the capacity to implement that, although fines are projected. Therefore, we are going to wait even longer for a response from the administration” said Markovikj.
Ana Fritel, executive director of the Foreign Investors Council, said that one of the methods for measuring good governance is the World Bank Governance Indicators report. She emphasized that Serbia moved upwards on the list last year, from 68th to 59th spot out of 189 countries in the world. However, if we take a look at the European countries only, we’ll see that Serbia is on 32nd spot out of 34 countries”.
Nemanja Nenadikj, programme director of Transparency Serbia, said that the bad governance is not always a result of corruption, it sometimes results from incapability on various levels.
Miodrag Milosavljevikj from the Foundation Open Society stressed that it is inefficient to implement standards we cannot achieve, and we should consider what can be implemented in order to be efficient.
“The good governance issue is closely connected with the position of the citizens and the countries and how the people look at themselves – as free citizens or as subjected citizens”, said Mladen Jovanovikj from the National Coalition for Decentralization. According to him, a large number of people consider themselves subjected citizens, therefore the civil sector should help more to the citizens in the understanding of the civil freedoms.
The good governance experiences in Southeastern Europe were discussed also with representatives of the partner organizations: Foundation Metamorphosis (Macedonia), Center for Democratic Transition (Montenegro), Why not (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Atlatszo.hu (Hungary) and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (United Kingdom).
The ACTION VISEGRAD SEE project objective is to promote a dynamic civil society that effectively mobilizes citizens for active engagement on good governance issues related to good governance, and influences policy and decision-making processes at national and regional level in Western Balkans.
The ACTION SEE project is supported by:
the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany