According to the announcements of EU officials, Montenegro is facing the challenge of being the next member of the European Union by 2025. With that in mind, we can say that it is halfway through the negotiation process and that, according to the experience of EU member states, it is now necessary to intensify the negotiation process and make the greatest effort. Instructed by the experience of negotiating with the last acceding member states, the EU is starting the negotiation process for the first time with Chapters 23 – Justice and Fundamental Rights and 24 – Justice, Freedom and Security. On the other hand, the progress in negotiating these chapters sets the dynamics for the rest of the negotiations, ie if progress is assessed not to go as planned, negotiations within other negotiating chapters will be slowed down until a satisfactory level is reached. Translated into the language of the “ordinary citizen”, these two chapters represent the key chapters for the final decision on the admission of a new candidate country for membership in the European Union.
Also, a new approach to negotiations introduces a system of provisional benchmarks and temporary closure of negotiation chapters. Provisional benchmarks are benchmarks that need to be met to a sufficient extent, after which the final benchmarks are determined. The final benchmarks require the candidate country to demonstrate an overview of the results achieved in the implementation of reforms in all areas. The chapter is temporarily closed in case the candidate country meets the criteria for closing the negotiations, at the proposal of the European Commission, with a unanimous decision of the member states. What the new approach provides is the possibility of reopening the chapter in case the candidate country adopts new normative acts if the undertaken obligations are not fulfilled, which enables the European Commission to constantly monitor the temporarily closed chapter.
Having in mind the above, the most challenges are on the way to membership in the European Union and it is necessary to work further on fulfilling the set criteria, but also achieving all values and postulates on which the EU and its member states are based.
The latest European Commission Report on Montenegro (2018) states that Montenegro has achieved a certain level of preparation in the fight against corruption, but that corruption is present in many areas and continues to be a cause for concern with a strong emphasis on proactive institutions.
The role of journalists in this process is very important, because society has the right to know about the society in which it lives, as well as decisions that may directly or indirectly affect them, ie the task of journalists is to research .
This guide is aimed at providing the necessary basis in the research process related to research in the field of corruption and organized crime.
The publication: “Guidelines for Investigative Journalists in the Field of Corruption and Organized Crime” was financially supported by the US Embassy in Podgorica, within the project: “Improving the Practice of Local Media in the Fight against Corruption and Organized Crime”.