23 Jan 2019, 14:15 PM

Novi Sad, January 21, 2019 - In line with its strategic focus, MK Group continues to invest in the sectors of agriculture, banking and tourism in Southeastern Europe and plans to invest an additional 500 million euros in this area over the next five years, as a celebration of 35 years of business, highlighting the successful results achieved by the company during over three decades of existence

When we founded the MK Group, we had three employees, and now that number is 7,000 people. All of them are responsible for the success we have achieved, for all the opportunities and chances that have turned into successful results," said Miodrag Kostić, president of the MK Group and added that one of the greatest successes in the past is the fact that during all 35 years the company remains a reliable partner.

"During 35 years of business our company has remained a reliable support for its employees, associates, partners, but above all for 74 local communities in which we work. Thanks to this approach, one domestic company has become a regional leader in agriculture, banking and tourism, on which, you agree, we can all be proud of," concluded Kostić.

Dušan Radičević, financial director of MK Group, reviewed the results achieved in the past and plans for the future: "In the past year, we opened the Sheraton hotel in Novi Sad, we became the majority owner of Portoroz airport, we increased the shares in Gorenje Bank, and are now closing the strategic decision to merge our company members, MK Commerce and Agroglobe. We are very determined to strengthen the position of the Southeast Europe leader in the years to come, in the key areas of our business. Since our foundation, we have invested a billion euros in business, and how far our plans for the future are ambitious, is shown by our intention to invest an additional half a billion euros in agriculture, banking and tourism in Serbia and the region for the next five years."

Serbian Chamber of Commerce President Marko Čadež, who attended the celebration, pointed out that MK Group best contributes to the growth of the Serbian economy:

"MK Group is not just a company that secures salaries for 7,000 employees every month, work for another 200,000 people and hundreds of other partner companies, which pays 109 million euros in taxes and contributions annually and as the largest exporter of our agriculture, strongly contributes to Serbian performance on the international market. It is also a regional leader in the areas in which it operates. The MK Group, with its 75-member companies, is the best proof that Serbia has large business systems able to participate with the strongest competition, investing seriously both at home and abroad, and successful businessmen who are strategically thinking of investing in expansion, modernization and boosting business efficiency, strengthening the positions of their companies and the Serbian economy in the region and the world. "

Miljan Ždrale, EBRD Regional Director for the Agribusiness Sector in Central and South-Eastern Europe, emphasized that MK Group is a reliable partner and associate.

"Companies such as the MK Group represent important drivers of economic and business growth in the Adriatic region's markets. Through our cooperation, we have come to realize that MK Group is developing thanks to the significant improvement of the corporative management, which is one more quality compared to some companies that rely solely on the management of one man. From everything we have gone through with MK Group Management, I am confident that they will expect even better results in the future. Out of this benefit will certainly have about 30,000 cooperators, who together with MK Group handle 265,000 hectares of cultivable areas. I look forward to the new MK Group projects in the future, and I wish them a lot of luck in their future business, "said Ždrale.

During the celebration of this significant jubilee, MK Group's new visual identity and values, as well as managers of all the divisions that operate within the MK Group system, were presented.

Text by PROMO, on January 22nd 2019, read more at Vijesti

21 Jan 2019, 22:29 PM

21 January 2019 - Montenegro and Albania should join forces to make the best of common potentials in many areas such as water management, tourism and agriculture, Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković and President of Albania Ilir Meta agreed at the meeting that took place in Podgorica.

"The economic prospects of the two countries are serious, and the two governments should do everything to use them," said Prime Minister Marković, adding that bilateral political relations are at a very high level.

The Prime Minister noted the remarkable economic growth achieved during the Government's mandate and said that it is committed to improving the quality of life of citizens.

He pointed out the special development potentials of the north of the country, adding that the Government is committed to implementing infrastructure projects, including the road from Podgorica via Dinoša to Cijevna Zatrijebačka, worth 11 million EUR, which is of particular importance for the residents of Plav and Gusinje.

Both sides emphasised the importance of promoting rights and contribution of minority communities that strengthen and enhance the partnership and friendship between Montenegro and Albania.

The meeting also discussed the importance of peace and stability in the region, and in that context, the importance of the membership of both countries in NATO, emphasising the significance of European integration as well. Prime Minister Marković said that Montenegro supports Albania's EU bid, adding that country is willing to transfer knowledge and experience from its negotiation process.

21 Jan 2019, 15:52 PM

It all began with a small Chinese teapot and an awakened desire from childhood - Ana and Nebojša Jasikovac opened the first pottery workshop in Niksic if we exclude the one from the Župa Monastery.

They say that they decided to see how long their "playing" with clay will last because Ana says that "clay is an unlimited fantasy, the space that you can shape for infinity."

"When I was little, my mother received a teapot from China, which was a nice shape with nice details. Even then, I thought if I could do something like that. But, as a man is not determined by his life but the circumstances and everything happening around him, my life went the other way, and the ceramics remained only a desire. And so, until the conditions were created. We made a green-house, started to grow herbs, I started, as a hobby, to collect pots and remembered my childhood wish. I figured why we would not make the pots to keep the plants in," says Nebojsa, an unemployed professor of history and geography. His wife, then also unemployed, immediately developed a business idea and waited for the right moment for its realization.

"I completed international relations and it is a little harder to keep a job if you are in the phase of starting a family. Whenever I went to a consultant at the Labor Bureau, I would say that we have a business idea for starting a pottery business together with the production of ornamental and herbal plants, that we are interested in this, and that we have the conditions. After the projects of the Union of Employers' Union 'Youth are the Future of Montenegro' and UNDP, the Association of Business Women, 'Enhanced in Business', I became more prepared and the idea developed further. In December 2017, the counselor invited me and said that there are unallocated loans and if I was interested, to call her the next morning. Since we were both unemployed, we were not keen on the idea of taking a credit loan. But my mother, who has been an accountant for 35 years, kicked us and told us that we have to take it because it makes sense," Ana said, who found a job in the meantime.

The firm "Herbs and Clay" was opened in February last year and we decided on the English name because the "unique handmade items are much more appreciated outside the region". 

"We make pots, cups, ashtrays, bowls, trays... We need to master the technique of making cocktail glasses and jewelery. Ceramic jewelery is something extraordinary because the paint is made at high temperatures, blends with the material and is safe and durable. I am especially thrilled with soap dishes and even more when you put a handmade soap on them," says Ana.

They did not know anything about pottery until last year. They have been learning hard, although for that job, you can never say that you've learned everything. Ana admits that Nebojsa is a better student and that he is mostly stationed at the pottery wheel, while she is in charge of the final part of the work and aesthetics, decorations.

"First, we got the wheel, then the stove. As soon as the wheel arrived, I sat down to try it. It is true that this was not suitable because the stove had not been purchased yet, but I had to. I place a piece of clay, give it a spin and it starts to form a shape.. When you work, you hold a bucket beside you and put everything that is not good in it to reuse it. At the beginning I filled the bucket with 25 kg pot and later it was much better," Nebojsa said.

He felt most proud when he was doing an enclosed form, and Ana when they baked the first piece. 

"It takes a long tie to get a ceramic item. You first create an object that needs to be dried, in the summer for a few days, in the winter for a few weeks. Then it is baked, at a temperature of 800 to 850 degrees. Then it is colored with pigments, or it is glazed and baked again, and the temperature depends on the glaze and color, and it is 1050 or 1250 degrees. If an erroneous step is taken in the whole process, you may find, after eight to nine hours of baking, when you open the furnace, there is only debris."

The small pottery workshop also has a greenhouse.

"In addition to spices and aromatic herbs, there are also succulent plants. We have a garden with vegetables for our needs, and there is always a surplus for sale. As these are non-chemically treated vegetables and herbs, it is not a problem to find a market to sell them."

Text by Svetlana Mandic, on January 20th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

20 Jan 2019, 21:41 PM

20 January 2019 - In the name of the stimulation of electricity production from renewable energy sources, privileged producers of electric energy were paid 13,27 million EUR last year, which is 8,75 million EUR more when compared to 2017, suggests the Montenegrin Electricity Market Operator. In 2017 privileged producers generated 244,62 million kWh, reports Pobjeda daily.

“Stimulation of electricity production from renewable resources started on 1 May 2014, and privileged producers have been paid 20,77 million EUR so far. Privileged producers generated 384,44 million KwH in this period,” said representatives of Montenegrin Electricity Market Operator.

According to the Montenegro Electricity Market Operator, “Krnovo Green Energy” company, in the ownership of Austrian “Ivicom Consulting” and French “Akuo Energy” got the most amount of money last year – 9,2 million EUR for the wind farm Krnovo. At the beginning of last year, “Masdar,” Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company, bought a 49% stake in the Krnovo wind farm.

As far as small hydro power plants are concerned, “Hidroenergija Montenegro” from Berane, founded by Ranko Ubović, Aleksandar Mijajlović, and the “Hemera Capital” company, received 1,75 million EUR.

“Kronor” company from Podgorica got 1,2 million EUR, “Igma Energy” – 476.924 EUR, “Hydro Bistrica” – 421.598 EUR, “Synergy” company – 175.323 EUR, whereas “Nord Energy” company got 37.155 EUR.

As stated in the Energy Balance Decision for 2019, small hydropower plants, which are privileged electric energy producers, will produce 94,8 gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2019, which is ten percent more than the estimated achievement in 2018.

"Wind power plants in Krnovo in 2017, due to the late start of production, realized 48 percent of the planned. This year, the level of electric energy produced in Krnovo was brought to 93 percent," said the energy balance.

The decision also plans that the electricity production from the wind farm on Mozura, whose commercial performance should start next year, will be 111,8 gigawatt-hours.

20 Jan 2019, 20:59 PM

20 January 2019 - Ambassador of China to Montenegro Liu Jin claims relations between China and Montenegro have never been better. Over the past few years, Jin said the cooperation between the two countries in the area of tourism, energy, and infrastructure, as well as in other sectors, has achieved significant progress, reports Pobjeda daily.

“Moračica bridge spanning structure is almost completed, Možura wind farm has entered the testing phase and soon will be functional, the number of Chinese tourists has been increasing over the years. These are all outcomes of cooperation between China and Montenegro that have contributed to traditional friendship and development of Montenegro. Our cooperation has been continuously progressing,” noted Ambassador Jin.

Despite numerous differences, such as history, culture, social system and economic structure, “both countries have been committed to further development of their economies and boosting the quality of life of their citizens”.

“China is ready to share knowledge with Montenegro, assist, cooperate with it and contribute to joint development based on mutual respect and benefit,” Jin concluded.

China has already been the second largest import partner of Montenegro, which best indicates the extent of cooperative relations between them, according to Ambassador Jin.

Back in October 2018, Prime Minister Duško Marković hosted the inaugural visit by Ambassador of the People's Republic of China Liu Jin. 

The Prime Minister welcomed the Chinese Ambassador, expressing the belief that the diversified cooperation with the People's Republic of China and the further development of the political and economic relations of the two countries, characterised by the high-level political dialogue, will be continued during his term of office. 

By this occasion Prime Minister Marković stressed that Montenegro especially respects the appreciation that the People's Republic of China expresses towards the strategic European and Euro-Atlantic orientation of Montenegro, and emphasised that the Government of Montenegro also share the attitude towards fostering and preserving multilateralism in the world. 

Prime Minister Marković and Ambassador Liu noted that cooperation between Montenegro and China in the field of our development projects, such as the construction of the first section of the motorway, but also in the area of science, education, and culture, provides a good perspective for the further high-quality partnership of mutual understanding and respect. 

20 Jan 2019, 15:13 PM

19 January 2019 - Consortium of the Czech Philibert and Villa Oliva offered 10 million EUR for the purchase of 56.4806% of the share capital of the Institute for Physical Medicine Rehabilitation and Rheumatology Dr Simo Milošević and an investment programme amounting to 27.944.380 EUR.

In line with the 2018 Privatisation Plan, the Tender Commission for Privatisation started activities on drafting and implementing the tender for the sale of the share capital of the Institute. During 2018, several letters were delivered about the intentions of potential investors for the privatisation of the Institute, three bidders were registered in the public tender (purchased the tender documentation and signed the Confidentiality Statement), but only the bid by the consortium of the Czech Philibert, which is part of the Cimex Group, and Villa Oliva was submitted within the set deadline.

The consortium's bid, the only one that had been submitted in the public tender, was opened earlier today at the session of the Tender Commission for Privatisation, which took place at the Ministry of Economy in the presence of the representatives of the bidder.

The Tender Commission will, in compliance with the legal procedure, examine the formal validity of the bid, after which, if it determines that the bid is formally correct, it will examine whether it meets the qualification requirements and the minimum requirements of the tender and, within 15 days from the opening date, it will examine the bid in terms of quality.

Upon the completion of the tender, the Commission will submit the report to the Privatisation and Capital Projects Council for adoption.

Public tender for purchase of 56.4806% of the share capital of the Institute Simo Milošević was announced on 16 October 2018.

20 Jan 2019, 14:53 PM

18 January 2019 - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development invested last year around 1,1 billion EUR in the countries of the Western Balkans, reads the report of this financial institution.

While presenting results and plans, they pointed out their commitment to the Western Balkans by investing in 67 projects last year. One year earlier, in 2017, the support was provided for 57 projects which required more than 700 million EUR.

“The Bank has set very ambitious objectives for 2019 as well since it is raising the level of support for the global development by 2030,” stated the representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Apart from infrastructure projects, they particularly point out that they continued investing in projects that were supposed to change the financial climate; even 36% of the resources were used for the so-called “green economy” whose objective is to contribute to the reduction of risk of the environmental impact. By the end of this year, they will have invested in the same type of project at least 40% of the total investments granted.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is the largest financial investor in Montenegro and since 1991, has invested more than 530 million EUR in a variety of approximately 50 projects. The Montenegrin portfolio in this company was estimated at 350 million EUR in 2018.

"The sustainability of public finances is a significant concern and among the greatest risks facing the country. In the fight against ever-increasing fiscal pressures, a new Fiscal Strategy was adopted in June 2017, which contained a series of measures, including VAT and excise tax, official’s salary cuts, improvement of tax collection and the abolition of maternity allowances with three or more children, adopted by the Parliament a year earlier. The main goal of the Strategy is to achieve the primary budget surplus from 2019 and the overall budget surplus from 2020. This should set the public debt to a declining path, which has rapidly increased to more than 70 percent of GDP in the recent years," the Transition Report of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for Montenegro stated.

20 Jan 2019, 01:08 AM

19 January 2019 - Montenegrin Company “Meso-promet”, based in Bijelo Polje and owned by Hilmija Franca, has directed great efforts towards building a new plant for the production of meat products in Bijelo Polje. The old plant was destroyed in a great fire at the end of April last year. Acting Chief State Architect Dušan Vuksanović gave his approval for the conceptual solution for the construction of this facility to the company in May 2018.

After the fire in which the plant of the Franca – Meso-promet Company was completely destroyed last year, the plant was restored and the production lines for processing meat and meat products were re-established. The first phase of the construction works cost three million EUR. The owner, Hilmija Franca, announced that the foundation stone for a new plant will be put in spring 2019.

"I am sure that on the foundation of this plant, a new, even better plant will be built, which will positively affect not only the consumers of agricultural goods but the entire agricultural sector," said Deputy Prime Minister Milutin Simović after the catastrophic fire.

Designer of the new plant is a company from Bijelo Polje, Inteza Grupa, whose founder is Fuad Sabović, and the executive director is Fatmir Mahmutović. The conceptual solution states that instead of the old object that was demolished, a new one will be built that will have a ground floor and one floor.

Franca, who is the CEO of Meso-promet, announced at the beginning of the year for News Agency Pobjeda that Meso-promet, after a fire that almost completely destroyed the plant of this company in late April last year, has restored 30% of the plant’s capacity and will continue its reconstruction in the second half of January.

Private Company Meso-promet was established on December 10, 1990, in Bijelo Polje. The main activity of the company, as stated on the official website of this company, is the purchase, production, processing and distribution of meat and meat products. The headquarters of the company is in the north of Montenegro, in the industrial zone of Bijelo Polje, on an area of 50 thousand square metres.

18 Jan 2019, 10:48 AM

Information on the conclusion of the Agreement on the "Montenegrin Scientific and Technological Park" was adopted at the session of the Montenegrin Government. This is a formal establishment of a new institution, like the central one in the scientific and innovation ecosystem in our country, after the contract was approved by the Managing Board of the University of Montenegro at the end of last year, as announced by the Ministry of Science. 

The statement adds that the Science and Technology Park represents a physical infrastructure - a capital building of approximately 13,000 square meters within the university campus, but more importantly, a foundation that will establish new links between business entities and universities.

"In this way, we want to stimulate the dynamics in the transition of our economy to a knowledge-based economy. The science and technology park will be a place of cooperation, joint projects, education, exchanging ideas, and business connections, in a way that already exists in our country but is not visible enough. Many young people focus on innovations as their business changes, but they often work independently on the foreign market without much influence on entrepreneurial and innovation culture and the wider environment in our country. Also, many experienced entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists with high-quality ideas, backed up by many years of research and experience, are waiting for some future partnerships to make them happen," the Ministry of Science stated.

The government’s department said that NTP is the place where innovative entrepreneurs will meet with scientists and students, prospective entrepreneurs and investors, where potential business opportunities will be realized.

"We expect that certain high-tech companies will be interested in establishing their hubs - places for education and the guidance of employees, as well as innovative startups, young companies with the potential for rapid growth and expanding to the wider market, will have their place in NTP," writes the Ministry of Science.

They also pointed out that the Science and Technology Park is networked with other activities of the Ministry of Science, such as Centers of Excellence, Smart Specialization Strategy, and the Program of Stimulating Innovative Startups.

"It is expected to be one of the most active factors in the implementation of our science policies, which are linked to innovation and technological development," the Ministry of Science said.

The founders of the Science and Technology Park are the Government and the University of Montenegro, in a ratio of 57:43 percent.

The facility is located on the Boulevard Mihailo Lalić in Podgorica, near the Technical faculty and is currently in the rough construction phase.

The completion of construction, if administrative procedures and construction works are carried out by the plan, is expected by the end of 2020, and the Montenegrin Government will provide funds estimated at EUR 8.4 million.

Text by Vijesti online, on January 2019, read more at Vijesti

17 Jan 2019, 15:55 PM

January 17, 2019 - Montenegrin seafarers remain in a somewhat unmanaged position, the Board of Management of the Montenegrin Seamen’s Union said. EU representatives warned that returning to the "white list" would not last as long as the elimination of the systemic causes of the maritime problem. The Union emphasized that seafarers make 12 percent of the state budget annually.

"Our basic problem is that this vital resource has long been neglected and left to the interest of lobbyists. The epilogue is that the interests of seafarers and the state are not in focus anymore, but they are all viewed through the prism of the interests of those who have embraced the power of deciding on maritime affairs, bringing the regulations in line with that," the Seamen’s Union said.
For them, it was not surprising that they were "on the blacklist of countries whose EU seaports are below the satisfactory standard" due to unusual acts by groups and individuals.
“It was a shame concerning the tradition and quality of our seafarers," said the representatives of the Seamen’s Union, who believe that "the current return to the white list" is part of their merit.
"But we must not be fooled - this situation will not last as long as the elimination of systemic causes of the problem, and that country, or the relevant ministry, must have the main word," the Union said.
By a decision of the European Commission on 23 March 2017, Montenegro came back to the "White List" of the maritime countries. While we were on the "Black List" of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), our seafarers could not sail under the flags of the EU countries.
Representatives of the Montenegrin Seamen’s Union have pointed out that the best indicator of the vital importance of maritime affairs for the Montenegrin economy is that six thousand seafarers, as estimated, working on foreign ships and four domestic overseas vessels, funds the state budget in the amount of 12 percent annually. 
"To clarify, it is about one percent of the population, or about 2.4 percent of the working population," said the Union and stated that this result was achieved on the international maritime labor market exclusively with the knowledge, effort, and work of domestic seafarers under conditions of exceptional competition and world maritime crises.
"Foreign employers are looking for our seafarers. Is there any better confirmation of our quality and knowledge than this?"  asked the representatives of the Seafarers' Union and stated that since establishment they had regular and good communication with the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs and that they had participated in their call for the last two years making several regulations, to compliance with minimum international requirements.
17 Jan 2019, 13:25 PM

By implementing this project, Montenegro will make significant progress on its path to the EU by adopting the standards applied in the EU's internal market, enhancing the capacities of competent institutions and knowledge to take over membership obligations, said the Director of the Directorate for Investments, Development of Small and Medium Enterprises and management of EU funds, Radosav Babic, at a conference held today at the Center Ville Hotel on the occasion of the first meeting of the Board Committee.

With the support of IBF International Consulting from Belgium and the Ministry of Finance of Montenegro - Directorate for Financing and Contracting of EU Assistance (CFCU), the Ministry of Economy organized the first meeting of the EU Steering Committee "Technical Support for the harmonization and implementation of the acquis in the field of internal markets". The project is financed under the IPA II Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance and will last for 24 months and until November 2020. The objective of the project is to facilitate trade and the development of the internal market by the requirements of the European Union acquis in Chapter 1 - Free Movement of Goods and Chapter 28 - Health and Consumer Protection

Babic emphasized the great significance of this project, primarily through the contribution that will be made to the harmonization of national legislation with the EU acquis, within two important negotiating chapters - Chapter 1: Unrestricted movement of goods and Chapter 28: Consumer and health protection, which will provide conditions necessary for the full harmonization of Montenegrin products in the field of standardization, market surveillance and other segments related to the unrestricted movement of goods, while at the same time the quality and safety of products will be in line with the high requirements of the Union.

"In this way, the project has added value for the citizens, providing conditions in obtaining quality and safe goods. On the other hand, Montenegrin producers will be able to market their products on the EU market without any barriers and thus promote the Montenegrin economy, improving competitiveness," said the general manager.

In the framework of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance IPA 2014-2020, out of the total budget of 270 million euros allocated for Montenegro, for projects aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of the Montenegrin economy and the business environment in accordance with the negotiation process, EUR 18.9 million was committed. In this part, the Ministry of Economy plays an important role in its efforts to create a suitable environment for the efficient functioning of the internal market as one of the basic conditions for improving the work of Montenegrin companies.

Within the framework of future IPA support implemented by the Ministry of Economy, it is planned to implement projects that are complementary to the existing entrepreneurship and business incentive programs implemented by the Ministry of Economy, with a special emphasis on support aimed at creating new jobs, supporting young people, women in business, difference, support for priority sectors, and further development of the business community.

Apart from Babic, representatives of IBF International Consulting Stefano Sedola and Matjaz Logar also spoke at the press conference.

The total value of the project is 1,167,400 euros, out of which EU funding is 90% and national co-financing of 10%. The project is being implemented under the Annual Action Program Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance IPA for the year 2014.

Text by CdM, on January 15th, 2019, read more at CdM

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