22 November 2018 - The Government of Montenegro passed the Decision on the criteria, method, and procedure for the selection of persons who can acquire Montenegrin citizenship by admission for the implementation of investment programme of particular importance for economic interest of Montenegro, as a development mechanism for creating new jobs and raising living standards of the citizens.
"The Government's decision was made with a view to accelerate the economic development of Montenegro further and attract investments that will create new tourism, agricultural and processing capacities, and new jobs, and improve the quality of life and the living standard of our citizens," Deputy Prime Minister Milutin Simovic told a press conference following the Cabinet session.
The Deputy Prime Minister noted that the citizenship by investment has long been recognised in many highly developed countries of the world as an essential mechanism for supporting the overall policy of attracting foreign direct investment and creating a competitive investment framework on a very demanding global market.
"The Decision will intensify the implementation of development projects and enable faster development of less developed municipalities. This programme represents an answer to the real needs of our economy and the need for its diversification. Therefore, the special quality of this Decision is creating opportunities for the implementation of development projects in several sectors - tourism, agriculture, and processing industry. Furthermore, this Decision is an expression of the Government’s commitment to implementing development projects in the whole area of Montenegro, both in the north and the south," Deputy Prime Minister Milutin Simović explained.
In his words, this economic citizenship programme and this Decision once again confirms that the Government is ready to create demanding programmes in line with the competitive global investment market.
"By attaining these goals, besides our key domestic need - dynamic economic development, we are also fulfilling the demanding economic criteria from our European agenda. Our domestic needs are best reflected by the fact that Montenegro at this time is at the level of 46% of the average EU development. We must improve the living standards of our citizens as quickly as possible and bring them closer to the level of the European standard. Therefore, we must not waste time by postponing decisions, which are useful and necessary and which create conditions for a better life of the citizens of Montenegro, especially those in less developed areas," the Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro underscored.
Speaking about the process of drafting the Decision, DPM Simović said that the Government has established a sincere and open dialogue with the European partners.
"There were also certain doubts, additional inquiries about whether we are prepared to carry out such a demanding project in the right way - as did the EU member states that have similar programmes, not jeopardising our European path and achieving the goals of the Union. In the end, we understood the position of our EU partners that Montenegro should use its exclusive rights to grant citizenship, in the spirit of sincere cooperation and to refrain from any measure that could jeopardise the Union's goals. That is precisely our intention! Such a concept of the Decision and the defined programme implementation are the expressions of the Government's sincere cooperation, intentions and responsibilities, as well as complete restraint from any measure that could jeopardise further integration path of Montenegro and the goals of the European Union itself," said Deputy Prime Minister Milutin Simović.
Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism Pavle Radulović explained the criteria for selecting development projects and the conditions that should be fulfilled by the applicants, as well as the procedure.
"The programme is designed to last for a limited period and is limited to the granting of the Montenegrin citizenship to up to 2,000 applicants. The money collected in this way will be used exclusively for development. The procedure provides for the greatest possible transparency," Minister Radulović explained.
He noted that the State of Montenegro would be using the highest criteria for selecting special mediation agents who will be checking the international suitability of the applicant and will issue them annual licenses. The applicants will submit requests through an agent who had previously signed a contract with the State of Montenegro.
Speaking about the criteria for projects to be implemented in the field of tourism, Minister Radulović said that it about hotels or mixed tourist complexes in the coastal region and the Capital city of Podgorica: at least 5-star facilities, at least 60 accommodation units, with minimum investments of 15,000,000 and at least 80 new employees. For projects in the northern and central region, except the Capital City, the criteria are as follows: at least a 4-star hotel or a mixed tourist complex, at least 35 accommodation units, a minimum investment of five million and at least 25 new employees.
Applicants must pay 450,000 EUR to the account of the State of Montenegro for the projects in the coastal region and Podgorica, or 250,000 in the northern and central region except Podgorica, as well as 100,000 intended for less developed areas. Also, the applicant must deposit 15,000 for an application for themselves, 10,000 for up to 4 family members, and 50,000 for each next family member, the Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism concluded.
Answering a journalist’s question, Minister Radulović said that he does not see any reason why the names of investors who have exercised their right to the Montenegrin citizenship are not available to the public.
22 November 2018 - The national carriers from the former Yugoslavia handled over 5,2 million passengers during the first three quarters of 2018. Croatia Airlines, Adria Airways, and Montenegro Airlines all recorded growth when compared to last year’s results, while Air Serbia's figures declined, with the airline also operating fewer flights.
Air Serbia continues to maintain its position as the busiest national airline in the former Yugoslavia, despite a drop in the number of passengers handled. According to Belgrade Airport's quarterly report, the carrier welcomed roughly 2,043,000 travellers during the first three quarters of the year, representing a decrease of 4,9%. The number of operated flights was reduced by 1,5% over the same period. The report suggests that the airline held a passenger share of 46,4% at Belgrade Airport. At the same time, foreign carriers recorded significant passenger growth amounting to 17,8%. Air Serbia itself is yet to publish any official operational results for the year so far.
Croatia Airlines handled a record of 1,705,470 passengers during the January - September period, which is an increase of 3,1%. Out of the record number of passengers, 412,420 travellers were carried on domestic flights, which is a growth of 1,4%, while 1,223,170 passengers flew on international services, an improvement of 2,5%. The remaining 69,880 passengers were carried on charter flights, which is a yearly increase of 24,4%. However, charters accounted for only 4% of overall traffic. The airline operated on 21,891 flights during the first three quarters of the year, which is a growth of 1,7% compared to the same period in 2017. The average cabin load factor stood at 73,7%, a fall of 0,5 points. Cabin loads were decreased on international flights by 0,2 points which is an average of 73,9%, while they declined 0,1 points to 72.4% on domestic services.
Adria Airways welcomed 982,597 passengers during the first three quarters of the year, representing an increase of 5,1%. The Slovenian carrier introduced seven new routes this summer, while the number of operated flights also grew. Unlike a part of last summer season, the airline did not maintain services out of its former base in Lodz in Poland but it recently stationed an aircraft in Paderborn in Germany, which will have an impact on its fourth quarter figures. Earlier this year, the carrier said, "Figures show we are on the right track, but there is still a lot of work ahead of us."
Montenegro Airlines handled 527,532 passengers during the January - September period, representing an increase of 13,6% from 2017, thus making it the fastest growing in the former Yugoslavia based on percentile growth. "The growth in all sectors of traffic comes as a result of the implementation of the optimal commercial strategy, as well as the responsible planning of resources and costs, which all had a positive impact on our operating results during the year," the airline said in a statement recently. Montenegro Airlines accounted for almost a quarter of all passengers passing through the country's two international airports - Podgorica and Tivat.
20 November 2018 - The town of Bar gives a strong impetus to the country's development, and the Government will continue to provide support to further improve the quality of life of citizens and strengthen the overall infrastructure, as noted in a meeting between representatives of the government with the delegation of Municipality of Bar, headed by Mayor of Bar Dušan Raičević.
At the meeting organised on the occasion of the Municipality Day, the government's representatives congratulated the citizens and the management, pointing the positive development trend of the State that the Government has provided in the past two years.
During this occasion, the Prime Minister of Montenegro praised the stabilisation of public finances in the municipality, adding that at local and state levels we must continue with financial consolidation and savings through strengthening efforts to reduce the gray economy, but also through investing in infrastructure.
"And not only when it comes to the road, but also energy and digital infrastructure," said Prime Minister Marković.
Mayor of Bar Dušan Raičević said that the municipality is working on the valorisation of tourism potentials in Maljevik and Dubovica, as well as creating conditions for Bar to get its first 5-star hotel. It was jointly stated that the valorisation of the Port of Bar and the airport in Podgorica will additionally encourage the development of the city and strengthen the economic activity.
20 November 2018 - The National Investment Commission approved the Project proposed for candidacy through IV invitation for co-financing infrastructure investments of the motorway - Mateševo - Andrijevica, through the Western Balkans Investment Framework. The Information adopted by the National Investment Commission states that in accordance with the decision adopted at the meeting of the Western Balkans Investment Framework Board of Directors, which took place in Paris on 18 - 19 June, IV invitation for co-financing for already prepared projects in the field of transport and energy was opened.
Mateševo - Andrijevica's section of the Bar - Boljare motorway, whose construction should begin immediately after the completion of the priority section Smokovac - Uvac - Mateševo, is estimated to be worth 273 million EUR, and the proposed amount of the request for funds from the European Union is 54.6 million EUR in accordance with the Western Balkans Investment Framework methodology that the maximum amount allocated can amount to 20 percent of the price. The subject of the application is the preparation of the tender documentation and the execution of works, and the leading financial institution in this project is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
For this project, in June 2017, following the negotiations the Government of Montenegro and the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs conducted with the European Commission, funds were allocated for the preparation of the Preliminary Project and the accompanying Environmental Impact Assessment.
The National Investment Commission reviewed and adopted the Information on the need for the establishment of the Digital Infrastructure sector and gave its approval to include additional Digital infrastructure sector in the Single List of Projects.
The project of the development of digital infrastructure at the regional level was launched at last year's European Union-Western Balkans Summit in Trieste. Bearing in mind the significant differences and disadvantages of broadband digital coverage between rural and urban areas within the region, and the fact that a small number of households have access to Internet speeds greater than 10 Mb/s, significant investments are needed in order to improve this area and achieve goals European Union set up for the period until 2025. The intention is to improve the digital connection of educational, health, municipal and other state institutions through this initiative.
19 November 2018 - Around 15 leading companies in the domain of airport management are interested in the Airports of Montenegro. Concession for the period of 30 years will be granted to the company which offers 100 million EUR of advance payment and the one which is ready to invest 85 million EUR in the first three years, said the Minister of Transport and Maritime Affairs, Osman Nurković.
Nurković confirmed that the concession agreement is ready and announced the tender invitation.
“We have made the concession agreement and the concession act and it should be considered within next few days. After the Government adopts the concession agreement, the public invitation will be called. We expect huge interest of investors and, currently, we have around 15 leader companies in this area,” noted Nurković.
Montenegro is a tourist destination and the number of tourists is constantly increasing. Technical, spatial and security capacities of Montenegrin Airports are not at a satisfactory level and investment is needed.
“Minimum 85 million EUR will be needed to increase the level of quality of our services and stimulate our tourists,” said Nurković.
Interests of employees will be fully protected in case concession is reached.
Apart from the plan for the Airports of Montenegro, the best model for the national airline company is being searched. Nurković says that this company will either go bankrupt or it will be privatized.
“Montenegro Airlines is very important for Montenegro, for tourism in particular. This is a very complex issue, the Government is analyzing it carefully and I’m sure the best possible decision will be brought,” said Nurković.
He confirmed that there are interests for Montenegro Airlines, but they want to buy a company which has potentials, and bring it to optimal level.
“We are now in the situation to either render a decision on rehabilitation of to privatize the company. In the worst case, the company will go bankrupt,” concluded Nurković.
Nurković also spoke about railway transport which Montenegro is focused on since the EU recognized the railway transportation as the most beneficial in ecological terms and the benefits from EU funds are good.
18 November 2018 - The Montenegrin Chamber of Economy is organizing a presentation of Montenegrin businessmen within the national stand of Montenegro at the forthcoming 25th International Fair 2018 by Klik Ekspo, which will be held in Tirana, Albania, from November 21st to 24th, 2018.
At the International Tirana Klik Ekspo 2018 Fair, Montenegrin producers will present their production programs at the national stand of Montenegro, in the Palace of Congress, on the stand of 40 square meters. The participation in the international fair allows exhibitors and businessmen to present their products and place them on new markets, as well as to promote the existing ones and acquire new business contacts and businessmen cooperation.
Klik Ekspo International Tirana Fair is one of the largest international fairs of entrepreneurship in the region, which takes place every year in Tirana, within 8,000 square meters of exhibition space. In 2017, over 380 direct exhibitors and organizations from around 25 countries exhibited at the fair. At the Tirana International Fair, international and national enterprises present their latest techniques, innovations and services in the areas of trade and commerce. This exhibition gathers exhibitors from engineering and construction materials industry, energy sector, agriculture, IT sectors, catering services, car materials, food products, furniture industry, metal processing machines, textile industry and many others.
Participation at the stand includes the provided equipped space for exhibiting promotional materials and samples that will enable companies to present themselves to other participants and visitors to the Fair. The cost of renting the booth will be borne by the Chamber of Economy.
If you have an interest in joining the Montenegrin delegation that will participate in the Tirana International Fair, please register your participation no later than Friday, November 19, 2018.
Read more information about Chamber of Economy of Montenegro and 25th Tirana International Fair here.
18 November 2018 - Health minister Kenan Hrapović told Pobjeda daily his ministry has been preparing a document seeking for a way of directing a specific amount of money collected from Tobacco excise taxes to the fund for treatment of rare diseases and expensive medicines.
We might expect the opening of the first bank account during next year already, according to minister Hrapović.
He said: “The Ministry of Health, as well as the Ministry of Finance, discussed this issue in the govt. for several times, in order to find a model for transiting specific amount of money collected from tobacco excises to the fund for the cure of rare diseases and expensive medicines. I think we are progressing well and next year we are to open a specific bank account for these purposes. We shall see how it’s going to work, as not everything depends on the Ministry of Health.”
Text by CdM, on November 18th, 2018, read more at CdM.
16 November 2018 - On November 16, the Expert Conference “Days of Electrical Engineers”, whose main focus is the exploitation of potentials - hydropower, wind, sun, valorisation of these resources, as well as economic profitability and development of investment studies, was opened in Podgorica. This event gathered more than 300 electrical engineers, members of the Montenegro Chamber of Engineers, and guests from the country and abroad.
The meeting was organized by the Chamber of Electrical Engineers of Montenegro and the Montenegrin Engineers' Chamber. The aim of the event is the affirmation of electrical engineering, development of professional activity and the exchanging of ideas. In addition to the aforementioned, the goal of the event is to connect members in order to renew existing and establish new professional contacts.
President of Montenegrin Engineers Chamber, Boris Ostojić, and the President of Chamber of Electrical Engineers of Montenegro, Željko Maraš, had the honour of opening the grand event. Twelve lecturers spoke during the Conference, and they presented 12 quality papers.
President Ostojić said that the interest in the “Days of Electrical Engineers” Conference is increasing and that this year's conference is only one in a series of confirmations that the Chamber should be more developed in the future. "The Chamber, as a professional association, has an extremely high potential, visible in its ability to assemble a large number of engineers. Regardless of whether we’re talking about the profession itself, the public interest, the need of a state or an individual, members of our Engineers' Chamber have shown on numerous occasions that they have a sense of belonging to their association, and I hope that this will be the case in the future," Ostojić added.
This year's “Days of Electrical Engineers” included topics related to reactive energy, networked lighting, mobile communications, the future of data centres, digitization of substations etc. The members of the Electrical Engineers’ Chamber and eminent experts from Montenegro and abroad presented their expert papers on topics from the field of electrical engineering. At the end of the event, a gala dinner was organized for all participants, guests and lecturers.
Based on the composition of the participants and the overall atmosphere during the event, the organisers hope that this Conference will become traditional and recognizable both in the country and in the region.
November 16, 2018 - In Montenegro, it has never been a more favorable business environment. Current credit lines enable young people to realize their business ideas more easily and successfully and become successful entrepreneurs, it was announced in Bijelo Polje from the forum "Encouraging young people to start their own business".
Dževad Mekić from the Investment and Development Fund, Bijelo Polje office, pointed out that the youth recognized the activities of the IRF and use these services to a greater extent.
"Since 1999, the Employment Agency of Montenegro has given loans for self-employment, offering more favorable credit resources than the market. Through the Draft Law on Employment, the introduction of mentoring is proposed," said Sanja Nedović, counselor for professional orientation.
She reminded that the Employment Service also conducts three-day education in the field of entrepreneurship.
"At this seminar, people from the Bureau’s records are informed and prepared to go to the labor market more readily. For loan users, we organize special training, with the intention to learn how to dispose of funds and to strengthen their business skills," Nedovic explained.
The Employment Service, a consultant added, promotes entrepreneurship as a desirable and quality form of inclusion in the labor market, which can lead to higher incomes and enable the individual to demonstrate his creativity and opportunities. The development of entrepreneurship among young people in the focus is the work of the Municipal Youth Office. According to Mirha Kasumovic, many activities from the Office are encouraging young people to start a business. The Youth Incentives for Youth was organized by the Youth Office - the Secretariat for Local Self-Government of the Municipality of Bijelo Polje, in cooperation with the Employment Bureau - Bureau of Labor Bijelo Polje and the Investment Development Fund - Bijelo Polje Office. The panel was held in the assembly hall of the Municipality of Bijelo Polje with the aim of motivating and encouraging young people to engage in the world of business by utilizing their potentials of creativity and innovation. Jovana Rondović, a successful young entrepreneur, a beneficiary of IRF loans, also presented her experiences to the young people in Bijelo Polje.
Text by CdM, on November 15th, 2018, read more CdM
November 16, 2018 - Regardless of the political processes or the socio-economic situation of women, the Capital will seek to pursue what your initiatives are and we will have a reliable partner for all your ideas and projects, announced Mayor Ivan Vuković at a meeting with representatives of the Women's Political Network - Snežana Jonica and Marija Ćatović coordinators of the Program for Political Participation and Marija Đuričković Gojčević and Jelena Radenović, coordinators of the Program for Economic Empowerment, which this year has a focus on women entrepreneurship.
"As a citizen, above all, and then as a mayor, I am very much looking forward to every initiative that goes towards the affirmation and improvement of the position of women in our society, in a way that it is also a kind of civilization feature, because there are more women in politics, therefore the Montenegrin society will be more emancipated and better, " said Vukovic.
Snežana Jonica introduced the mayor with a model of support to women entrepreneurship - a system of support for business plans, which would mean more specific benefits – reduce the unemployment rate, because it opens the possibility of engaging women, both those applying and those they employ for the project, but also the return of money to the municipality both through the reduction of unemployment, and through the initiation of interesting businesses, through good defining priorities, then through taxes and contributions through income taxes. As she pointed out, this program would dominantly relate to the establishment of new businesses, and to a lesser extent to the expansion of the existing ones.
Representatives of the Women's Political Network informed the Mayor that in the process of public debate on the budget for the next year they will submit a request for planning funds intended for supporting women's entrepreneurship, and the Mayor expressed willingness to introduce a special budget line for women entrepreneurship as a budget proposer, which amount would be subsequently defined. He also pointed out that in the City Parliament he would initiate the adoption of the Decision regulating the distribution of these funds
Interlocutors agreed that, when it comes to the realization of this project, the Capital is in a better position than other Montenegrin municipalities, since through the functioning of the Bureau for Economic Cooperation and support to the business community it has experience in the preparation of business plans, projects, business incubators.
It is necessary to build a strong foundation for the realization of this project, and in the coming years it will be upgraded. Apart from the offered model, Mayor Vuković left the possibility of allocating funds through interest-free loans, while the third segment of cooperation would be, apart from the already established women's counseling center, by equipping another business space that will turn into a business incubator and this could be a new opportunity for women beginners in business, and the Women's Political Network, as a partner, should work on animating international organizations to conduct continuous training, because it is in the common interest that this area is present. Also, these experts would identify through research what is missng in business, implement continuous programs, exhibit comparative experiences, do market analysis, etc.
Text by CdM, on November 15th, 2018, read more at CdM
November 16, 2018 - The Montenegrin Seamen's Union (UPCG) has announced that, due to the inadequate support of the Montenegrin administration, the seafarers are faced with continuous obstructions affecting their employment in foreign companies.
"This is best confirmed by the fact that our administration needed a number of years to implement EU Directive 2008/106 / EC and after unnecessary exemption, to return Montenegro to the White List of Maritime Countries," states the letter sent to the Minister of Transport and Maritime Affairs Osman Nurković.
Montenegrin Seamen's Union, which gathers the seafarers of all professional profiles and duties on ships, sent a letter to Nurkovic, warning him of the seriousness of the situation that could lead to replacing our naval powers on blacklists and the great problems in the employment of seafarers with foreign companies. Seamen from Nurkovic are seeking to finally begin "in a proper way to deal with his work when it comes to maritime affairs" and also point to a lack of harmonization of domestic legislation with European legislation.
Analyzing the period of renewal of state autonomy, Montenegrin seafarers have come to face with continuous obstructions affecting their employment in foreign companies and the achievement of quality engagements due to inadequate support from the Montenegrin administration.
Seamen face the underlying problem with a shortage of skilled personnel who would continuously, professionally and consistently be able to keep up to date with the latest maritime regulations in the maritime sector and react on time at the national level. In their words, the incompatibility of Montenegrin regulations with international standards, which could be evidenced during the upcoming inspections, could result in the redistribution of Montenegro from the White List. Given the growing involvement of seafarers from Far-East countries, the UPCG notes that the re-excommunication of our seamen from the international maritime market would have far-reaching negative consequences.
If continued with the state administration's approach so far and inadequate personnel systematization within the competent institutions, Montenegrin seafaring will, from the international point of view, continue to be marginalized and Montenegrin seafarers are exposed to severe condemnation by foreign shipping companies or agencies mediating their employment.
"Due to the non-signing of the bilateral agreement on the recognition of Montenegrin seafarers' authority by the Italian administration (but only unilateral in favor of Italy), many Montenegrin seafarers were questioned for many years in Italy. Montenegrin powers have so far been certified by the Italian Embassy in a provisional mandate of three months. Such a system has been in place since 2002, only because of the demand for naval personnel on the international labor market and the unreserved commitment of our seafarers to fight for survival in such conditions. Unfortunately, since mid-September this year, the possibility of provisional verification of the powers is denied and they, because of the obstacles resulting from the inadequacy of our administration, will no longer be able to get a job at the company they built their careers for many years. Their places will most likely occupy colleagues from Ukraine, Russia and the Philippines who unquestionably receive Italian certification of the mandate for a term of 5 years, how many such authorizations should last," the UPCG says in a letter to the Minister of Transport and Maritime Affairs, Osman Nurkovic.
International Bilateral Agreements on Mutual Recognition of Seafarers' Enforcement Authorizations have so far been signed for a negligible number of countries, mainly at the initiative of individual entities that are not part of our state administration. The inadequate motivation of maritime administration employees is also reflected by the fact that Montenegro is, unfortunately, one of the two coastal countries in Europe, which is still not a full member of the Paris MOU PSC system. In this context, the non-transparency in the operations of the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs should be emphasized, where all maritime activities are being published selectively and with delays, according to UPCG. They call on the competent ministry for closer cooperation and emphasize that the constructive cooperation of interest groups in the field of maritime affairs has lately been realized most thanks to the engagement of Montenegrin business alliance representatives, within which a Naval Board was formed.
UPCG warns of complex issues in the area of work and social care and, in the case of seafarers, inadequately defined compatibility with the medical protection system. The UPCG notes that the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs, as a ministry, currently has insufficient willingness or capacity to be a coordinator in systematic observation and solving the needs of seafarers.
UPCG warned Minister Nurković of several other essential issues that have a negative impact on the development of Montenegrin maritime affairs and further aggravates the status of seafarers, including the lack of a National Maritime Development Strategy, the need for a new Rulebook on vocations and the conditions for acquiring and empowering crew members, the impossibility of obtaining visas for certain maritime countries with which Montenegro does not have the best defined diplomatic relations, bureaucratic control of educational institutions and seafaring training centers by certain Classification Societies, and contradictions expressed through the fact that controls are paid by these same institutions, as well as the complicated bureaucratic procedure in issuing and replacing the powers of port captains and the inability to electronically apply them for renewal.
On the international maritime market, about 6500 Montenegrin seafarers are currently engaged in the free assessment. Their earnings are brought to Montenegro on a regular basis, and the amount of remittances on the basis of personal seafarers' salaries abroad almost reaches the net inflow of foreign investment in Montenegro over the last few years, they emphasized from UPCG in addressing Minister Nurkovic.
"We hope that our remarks will enhance the efforts of the representatives of the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs and the other national bodies in order to promote Montenegrin maritime affairs and that the importance of needs of seafarers, who are already generators of the development of our regions, will be seriously understood and adequately treated."