Civil society organizations (CSOs) are drivers of change in every society. They have a very important role in promoting and protecting the rule of law, democracy and human rights.
There is no doubt that civil society is a very powerful modern concepts. It is often called the “third sector”. Wonder why? That is because civil society is seen as a driver of change, which has the power to hold public and private sectors to account for their commitments.
An empowered civil society is crucial to strengthen participatory democracies in the European accession process. Therefore, the European Union (EU) supports the development of a civil society through the Civil Society Facility (CSF). In the past 7 years, the EU allocated around €13 million to Montenegro under the programme. It provided support to a range of sectors: civil society development and local democracy; social inclusion; good governance (including the Rule of law); media and freedom of expression; and environment and rural development. Furthermore, over €0.5 million was invested for the establishment of the EU Resource Centre in Montenegro.
The voice of civil society needs to remain strong, even during the pandemic. Therefore, the EU will continue to support the development of civil society and the genuine inclusion of CSOs in the policy-making process in Montenegro. The Civil Society Facility for Montenegro, for the period 2021-23, is focusing on increasing capacities and effectiveness of Montenegrin CSOs to monitor and participate in reform processes, and to strengthen the overall capacities of less developed organisations and grassroots movements. In order to achieve this, a grant-scheme mechanism was set up to support these organisations.
The proramme aims at triggering local development by promoting informal education, social innovation and job creation, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable groups.