Strongly believing that democracy is more powerful than the challenges it faces, this year together with our partners we organize the first Festival of Democracy  from 13th to 15th September in Belgrade and many towns across Serbia, aiming to boost optimism and reinforce trust in democracy.  

Through live, fun and vivid concepts, the aim of the festival is to address the important issues and to initiate public discussion in order to defend democratic values. The Festival program will be full of  debates, exhibitions, theatre plays, movie screenings, creative workshops…

We invite you to join us in developing ideas and help us to improve democratic mood in our society!

More information is available at this link: https://demfest.crta.rs/

You can find the agenda of the Festival here.

Ever since 2009 when the first Decree on Incentive Measures for Electricity Genera­tion from Renewable Energy Sources was adopted (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia” 99/09) the status of a privileged power pro­ducer can be acquired by owners of approximately one hundred small hydropower plants with the in­stalled power of up to 1 MW.1 These plants make for 1.26% of the total electricity generation capacities in 2019.

The City Council of Niš passed on the deci­sion to transfer the ownership of the Kon­stantin Veliki Airport into the hands of the Republic of Serbia on March 31st 2018. The next day, the first spontaneous protest took place. The citizens of Niš gathered in front of the City As­sembly housing the City Council and the Mayor’s Office. This spontaneous protest was an introducti­on to the process that would last three months and would be marked by a number of mass protests of citizens of Niš against the decision to “hand over the airport“. It ended on June 22nd at the session of the Assembly of the City of Niš, when the decision of the City Council was adopted.

From the introduction of a life sentence to lawfully bribing and tipping physicians, spring in the Parliament was marked by a set of important laws. The opposition boycotted the Parliament whereby daily arguments outside the agenda and altercations with the dissents still dominated the plenum. The epilogue of the European Commission Report for 2019 is the announcement of a turning point in the work of the National Assembly. Parliamentary Insider for April, May and June 2019 brings analyses of the work of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, including law summaries and key novelties introduced by the adopted laws.

Miljana Miletic joined Istinomer in July 2019. Miljana graduated journalism at Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade. She finished her master studies of Terrorism, Organized crime and Security at the University of Belgrade in 2018. Miljana is interested in multimedia and video production. In her spare time she writes about culture on her blog, and hopes to publish her poetry book one day.  

These recommendations are a result of years of re-search and monitoring the work of the National Assem-bly in the framework of the Open Parliament Initiative, as well as of the activities of Members of the Parliament (MPs), functioning of parliamentary mechanisms and processes, and analyses of comparative practice and the best international standards. The list of recommendations presented in this document is not final nor exhaustive, but rather limited to priority recommendations that CRTA believes could be implemented at the earliest opportunity, with the existence of political will, readiness for dialogue and mutual understanding of all relevant actors.

For decades Radovan has been living parallel lives in media (Naša Borba, VIN, B92…), advertising (TBWA) and social activism (YIHR, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights…). He was creator of documentary TV serials “All That Country” and “Yugoslavia for Beginners”, co-creator of the first web drama in SEE region #JustSaying, and initiator of the highly acclaimed outdoor exhibition “Srebrenica, 1995 – 2005”. He believes that propaganda is not necessarily a bad word. 

Vladimir graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade. After passing the bar exam, he gained a lot of professional experience in the field of criminal law, the fight against corruption and the political party financing by working in the judiciary and control state authorities, and a lot of running experience in the streets of Belgrade. Lawyer by profession, marathon runner by choice. He joined the CRTA team in June 2019. His interests are mainly focused on the establishment of the rule of law.

In order to contribute to the initiation of the democratic functioning of the Parliament, the CRTA has made 46 recommendations relating to the process of adopting laws, strengthening parliamentary control over the executive, increasing public involvement and improving cooperation with independent institutions.

The recommendations have been conceived thanks to the systematic, long-standing monitoring of the work of the Parliament within the Open Parliament initiative, with the intention to make them as concrete as possible and applicable as soon as possible. The issues they deal with, such as the adoption of a large number of laws without an actual debate, rare and superficial use of parliamentary control mechanisms, have been noted in the European Commission report. Two out of three laws and amendments to the law were adopted by urgent procedure. The position of the National Assembly is degraded due to the lack of public hearings and the frequent abuse of procedures and obstructions of the work of the Parliament. The space for a quality dialogue in the Assembly plenum has been reduced. 

“Our intention is to help bring back the dialogue in the Serbian Parliament. Our recommendations are concrete and can be swiftly implemented if there is political readiness. This list of recommendations is not exhaustive nor sufficient for the functioning of the Parliament in its full capacities. This is exactly why one of the recommendations is to invite the Venice Commission to issue the opinion on the Rules on Procedure. The CRTA recommendations are offered as a starting point for an argumentative discussion about the solution for the improvement of the work of the Parliament“, stated Vukosava Crnjanski, director of the CRTA organisation.

Tara Tepavac, coordinator of the Open Parliament initiative added that the debate in the very plenum is brought down to attacks of different dissents instead of putting the essence and the contents of laws in the focus.

“Parliamentary control continues to collapse, and examples of good practice of the past convocations, such as public hearings, no longer exist. The problem of Parliament’s work is twofold: certain mechanisms are not sufficiently defined nor developed, and on the other hand, there is a problem in the way in which the existing mechanisms are applied.  Moreover, it is necessary to adopt the annual work plan of the Assembly, which has not been done lately, as it affects the better preparedness of the MPs; and the public would have the opportunity to get acquainted with the work plan of the Parliament“, said Tepavac.

Jelena Lončar, assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade, pointed out that we are currently witnessing the collapse of democracy when it comes to the work of the Parliament.

“The problem is specifically perceivable when it comes to the legislative and controlling function of the Parliament. Besides, there is a number of problems, such as the adoption of laws, laws being adopted by urgent procedures, obstructions of the Parliament’s work, abuse of procedures, and a complete absence of public hearings which used to be established as a good practice. It is indispensable that MPs render accounts for their acts to the public. This is why it is imperative to improve the communication with citizens.“, concluded Lončar.

The CRTA and the Open Parliament invite all stakeholders of the political life, civil society, academic society and media to participate in the dialogue on the improvement of the parliamentary life in Serbia.

You can view the entire conference here.

 

Konferencija “Parlament – sta dalje?” #PreporukeParlament

Posted by CRTA on Четвртак, 18. јул 2019.

The heated debate on algorithms which are part of the software used by the state and strongly influence citizens’ lives is present in Western countries, but it has not yet reached the same level in Central and Eastern Europe. This does not mean that automated decision processes do not exist in these regions. The report alGOVrithms – the State of Play is the result of collaborative research that surveyed existing practices and has found a significant number of algorithms that may be qualified as a part of automated decision making in these countries. This report consists of data and analysis gathered by researchers from ePaństwo Foundation (Poland), KohoVolit.eu (Czechia and Slovakia), IDFI (Georgia), K-Monitor (Hungary) and CRTA between November 2018 and April 2019. Together with the report, we are presenting policy recommendations for decision makers, which are available in Serbian and English.