Podgorica, 12 September 2017–A Meeting between the Director of the Public Procurement Administration – PhD Mersad Mujević and the Expert Team of the Council of Europe led by Mr.Jean-François Furnémont, on the topic: “Strengthening of Judicial Expertise on Freedom of Expression and the Media in South-East Europe”

In the framework of the joint project of the European Union and the Council of Europe on the theme “Strengthening the judicial expertise on freedom of expression and the media in South-East Europe – JUFREX”, within which the analysis of the media sector has been planned, aimed at presentingthe further significant steps towards development of the guide for the regulation of media policy in Montenegro, and thereby also presenting an additional step in the cross-sectoral approach and the cooperation of the relevant institutions in Montenegro that will surely, by joint efforts, create a complex, practical product based on European standards.

For the purposes of this analysis, the expert team visited the Public Procurement Administration on 12 September 2017, considering that one of its important topics is national advertising and hence the emphasis on respect for the principle of transparency.

Director of the Public Procurement Administration – PhD Mersad Mujevićstated in his address that the public procurement legal framework in Montenegro was based upon basic principles deriving from the EU Directives (2004/17 and 2004/18) and the jurisprudenceof the European Court of Justice, such as transparency, equal treatment, free competition and non-discrimination as well as the interpretative communication of the European Commission defined through various communications and interpretations provided by the latter.

For purpose of this meeting, he specifically referred to the principle of transparency and the manner it has been implemented in practice in Montenegro.

The transparency of public procurement is important for gaining the trust of taxpayers that the Government manage procurement,i.e. the budget funds, in aneffective manner.

Considering that the principle of transparency entails the principle of publicity, its fulfillmenthas been made possible through the legislative and institutional framework of the public procurement system and other laws and programs pertaining to other areas which contribute to the implementation of the principle of publicity.

The mentioned principle of transparency in public procurement procedures require the availability of relevant information to all interested parties, consistently and in a timely manner, via accessible and prevailing medium, at no cost or possibly at a “reasonable” one (Articles 3 and 62 of the Public Procurement Law of MNE). Respect for the principle of transparency is guaranteed by the provisions that prescribe mandatory publication of the procurement notices, as well as informing the participants in the procedure aboutits outcome and adopted decisions.

The Public Procurement Administration implements the above through its central portal,www.ujn.gov.me, the use of which is mandatory for all contracting authorities, i.e. for all entities spending public funds.

In addition to obligations of “preservation” of the principles, the PPA, according to the PPL, delivers relevant statistics of contractual obligations of each of the contracting authority for the services of their media representing, which those entities must present publicly on the central portal of public procurement in the form of a “Public Procurement Plan“, before launching the procurement procedure.

Relevant reports that are approved by the Government of Montenegro each year for the previous year are available on the Portal of the Public Procurement Administration.

Experts of the Council of Europe were in particularinterested in the functioning of the Public Procurement Portal and the method of collecting and reporting on the data related to contracted public procurement.

They assessed the meeting as a very valuable one and offered further cooperation in future projects.

The Council of Europe experts, in addition toMr. Jean-François Furnémont, were also Ms.JelenaSurčulija and Ms.JelenaMilojevic, Mr.Marc Janssen and Ms.TanjaKerševanSmokvina.