Podgorica, 1 October – The Resource Centre for Civil Society Organisations was presented at the EU Info Centre, and its founders invited all non-governmental organisations to start using their services.

The Head of the Cooperation Sector in the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Hermann Spitz, said that civil society has an enormously important role to play in a democratic society and that the EU is providing continuous support for the development of civil society in the candidate countries, including Montenegro.

“Without an enforced and free civil society there is no functioning democratic system. Not only does the presence of a strong civil society foster pluralism in our society but the work of civil society also contributes to the effectiveness and sustainability of institutions, governments and even the EU,” said Spitz.

He said that one of the pillars of EU support to civil society in Montenegro is the funding of the Resource Centre, and by providing this the EU is supporting activists, those people who are directly communicating with citizens and who sometimes face difficulties when they advocate for their constituencies and voice their positions.

The director of the Centre for the Development of NGOs (CRNVO), Ana Novakovic, said that there are two specific reasons why the establishment of resource centres is still necessary: a lack of support from the state and the need to operate freely in society.

“Non-governmental organisations and individuals with a critical view of the situation in society are subject to media smear campaigns and government representatives mark them as enemies of the state, who are acting contrary to the interest of the society. However, we believe that the ones who are working contrary to the state are the same ones who are responsible for the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans listing Montenegro and other countries from the region as captured states, due to the presence of organised crime and corruption and illegal interference in the work of the media,” said Novakovic.

She points out that the Resource Centre is the first point of reference for all civil society organisations and individuals who are planning to contribute to the development of society in all segments.

The Resource Centre for Civil Society Organisations is funded under the Civil Society Facility (CSF), through the EU Delegation, and will provide services to non-governmental organisations in several municipalities for the next three years.