Lobbying in Montenegro is regulated by the Law on Lobbying, prescribing the requirements and manner of conducting lobbying activities, the rules on lobbying and other issues of importance for lobbying.
In accordance with the Law on Lobbying (article 2), “lobbying is the activity by which influence is exerted on legislative and executive authorities at state and local level, on state administration bodies, independent bodies, regulatory bodies, public institutions, public enterprises and other legal entities exercising public powers, or activities in the public interest, or majority-owned by the state, in the process of adoption of regulations and other general acts within the jurisdiction of such authorities, in order to advance the interests of the lobbying client, in accordance with the law”.
Lobbying activity may be conducted by a natural entity that owns authorisation for conducting lobbying activities, issued in accordance with this Law (hereinafter: the lobbyist) and a company, or non-governmental organization that meets the requirements prescribed by this Law (hereinafter: legal entity conducting lobbying).
Lobbied person is an elected, nominated or appointed person in an authority, a person whose election, nomination or appointment is subject to approval by an authority, and any person in an authority who participates in the process of preparation and adoption of regulations, and other general acts, or can influence the content of such regulations and other general acts.
As basic principles of action, the Law primarily promotes the principle of publicity and protection of public interest, the principle of integrity, and prevention of conflict of interest.
The Law stipulates the Agency maintains the register of lobbyists, keeps records of any changes related to the status of lobbyists and legal entities conducting lobbying, issues authorisations for conducting lobbying, issues decisions on registration of a legal entity in the register of lobbyists, and decisions on removal from the register, etc.
The register of lobbyists is public and published on the Agency's website, and contains information on lobbyists, legal entities conducting lobbying, and lobbying clients. This way, full transparency is ensured, the public is informed on the lobbying activities, while potential lobbying clients are provided necessary information when choosing lobbyists as contracting parties.
One of the mandatory requirements for conducting lobbying by natural persons is having authorisation for conducting lobbying activities, issued by the Agency for Prevention of Corruption.
Authorisation for conducting lobbying activities is issued to the natural person:
1. who owns a University diploma, 7th level of Qualifications’ Framework, sub-level 1 (VII1);
2. against whom no criminal proceedings for a criminal offense prosecuted ex officio is being conducted, and who has not been convicted of a criminal offense prosecuted ex officio;
3. who has not been pronounced the safeguard measure, prohibiting him or her from carrying out activities in the area in which he or she lobbies;
4. who owns the certificate of passed exam for conducting lobbying activities;
5. who submits a signed statement on absence of restrictions referred to in article 14 paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Law.
A company or a non-governmental organisation can conduct lobbying, if it has been entered in the register of lobbyists in accordance with this Law, and if:
1. it is registered with the Central Registry of the Commercial Court;
2. has employed at least one lobbyist;
3. no criminal proceedings have been initiated against the responsible person in the company or the non-governmental organisation, nor has that person been convicted of a criminal offense prosecuted ex officio;
4. the responsible person in the company or the non-governmental organisation submits a signed statement on absence of restrictions referred to in article 14 paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Law.
The Law also regulates the process of lobbying, from the point of entering into contract on lobbying and stipulating the contract contents to stating cases when a lobbyist or legal person conducting lobbying must terminate the process of lobbying.
Special emphasis is also put on transparency in the process of lobbying, by stipulating the obligation of the lobbied person to file an official note on the lobbying contact to the Agency for Prevention of Corruption, within five days from the day he or she was contacted by a lobbyist (article 34). Furthermore, the authorities must publish information on the lobbying contact (lobbied person, lobbyist and subject of lobbying) on their respective websites, which further enhances the transparency of the process. The Law further establishes the obligation of the lobbied person to notify the Agency and submit data on the natural and legal person conducting illegal lobbying (article 38), or the lobbyist and legal person conducting lobbying contrary to this Law, and based on which in further action, the Agency initiates misdemeanour proceedings or issue a misdemeanour order.
Additionally, an obligation of the lobbyist or legal person conducting lobbying is to submit a written report to the Agency, no later than 31 January of the current year for the previous year, which contains detailed information about lobbying activities.
By-laws regulating lobbying in more detail are: