02 Oct 2020, 22:17 PM

October 2, 2020 - In these dark days of the COVID-19 epidemic, everyone needs to take off a little above the clouds and socialize. It is even nicer to learn together, proposes an invitation to a seminar offering continuous psychosocial support for parents of children and young people with special needs. The seminar was held in Herceg Novi as a part of a broader project to support those children and their families.

About twenty experts from Kotor, Tivat, and Herceg Novi joined the coordinator, Dr. Sonja Vasić, for a two-day gathering organized by the NGO Meritum, held last weekend in the Blue Salon of the "Dr. Simo Milošević" Institute in Igalo.

The session leader was Dr. Nenad Rudic, a psychiatrist at the Institute for Mental Health in Belgrade and a consultant to UNICEF Serbia, whospoke to Radio Tivat at the end of the workshop:

"We had the opportunity to exchange our professional experiences and to provide our thoughts on the topic that brought us together: what is the best way to help this group, and what is possible, not forgetting that from the practice of helping children with special needs, parents are not just on the sidelines, but are actors in both child development and in our work with them. The reality is that both in our country and elsewhere in the world, a major issue is how to find the right models and ways of sustainable support to parenthood. Especially in the most challenging situations, we certainly do not have all the answers. It is in those challenging situations where we are wondering whether the profession can, within its competencies, develop support meetings, sometimes within its daily practice, but also as a special activity. These sessions can take place both with groups of parents and through individual counseling. Within these sessions, the parents need to be able to ask questions, feel good while asking them, get clear answers to personal questions, and feel that the child development services are working with the child. We are on the same side as the parents and we are trying to understand each other."

In particular, there were discussions on child development and disorders, mental health problems in children and young people with special needs, quality of life, and parental stress and their own mental health problems.

Emphasis was placed on the partnership model of counseling support to parents, to which attention will be paid in the next three similar sessions provided by the organization. The idea is for participants from three Boka municipalities to organize continuous work with parents in their communities after the training.

The organizers read a letter of support from Mary Borojevich, president and founder of the NGO Meritum, who came to Montenegro after many years dedicated to caring for children with special needs in Serbia.

"For the last four years, I have turned my attention to Montenegro, continuing the work with special needs children. We supported the daily care center in Herceg Novi for two years by paying the rent and funded in-home schooling for those kids who could not attend school. Our latest effort is to provide for the needs we learned of from professionals and family members when we held a needs assessment seminar last November at Cattaro Hotel," explains Mary Borojevich for TMN.

"This is planned to be a four-phase training program; the first phase was held 26-27 September. Our goal is to answer the call of the area's population with one sole goal in mind. That is to improve the special needs reality so that everyone may reach their full potential. Of course, the very wonderful side effect will be a more capable and compassionate society in this beautiful Boka that I have come to love and call my second home," says this humanitarian worker interviewed by TMN two years ago.

Tivat is Finally Opening the Doors of Daily Care Center for Children with Special Needs

Among the workshop's participants last weekend in Igalo, was Marijana Škanata, the President of the NGO European House Tivat, which gathers parents of children with special needs from the town. The NGO has been supporting children with special needs and their families since 2007. As a parent of a child with special needs herself, advocating for better policies and practices through the years, Marijana was invited to join the gathering both as a journalist and experienced worker on the topic:

"The first thing that struck me was the great enthusiasm I felt among all the participants. They came with many ideas, cooperation suggestions, and proposals of how continuous psychological support should be provided within the social care system. In today's world, psychological support is needed more than ever. As a parent, I took the opportunity to emphasize some good and some bad examples of how participants in health and social care systems could be helpful or psychologically unsupportive with parents in very delicate moments. In doing this, we discussed real problems and found solutions together, acting as a team."

children with special needsDaily Care Center for Children with Special Needs in Tivat, Photo by Sinisa Lukovic

NGO European House Tivat was founded in 2000. Their mission to help special needs children began in 2007 when Marijana took part in a working group to create the Local Action Plan for Children, introducing the need to organize a daycare center for children with special needs in Tivat into the local plans. After years and years of EDT efforts, those plans are finally coming to fruition - the daycenter will host its first guests on Monday, October 5.

The Montenegrin "Monte Carlo," as some like to call Tivat when making a development-level comparison, has succeeded in opening the Daycare Center after dozens of projects, educational, and funding events organized by EDT Tivat.

"We started collecting funds and advocating for the daycenter in December 2008, with our first project dedicated to children with special needs - I want to go to the EU, me too! It took a lot of time, but some of our children will finally have this vital service. It is important not only for them but also for their families. Of course, we are happy and look forward to future cooperation and joint projects with this important local institution," said Marijana Mišić Škanata for TMN.

The institution "Daycenter for Children and Youth with Disabilities" Tivat was officially opened on August 12, and its doors open to guests on Monday, October 5. According to the coordinator, Vedrana Petković, the Center in Seljanovo can accommodate 20 guests.

"The center's working hours are from 7am to 3pm; every aspect will be designed with the needs of the children in mind," Vedrana points out, noting that the center is counting on close cooperation with the NGO European Home Tivat.

Guests will have at their disposal a living room, a room for individual work, rehabilitation room, and sensory room, and the center is open to children and young people up to 27 years of age.

01 Oct 2020, 23:32 PM

October 1, 2020 - A new government is being formed in Montenegro. The prime ministerial candidate of the three winning coalitions with the majority in the parliament, Zdravko Krivokapić, believes that politicians should not burden citizens with the  distribution of roles until the parties reach an agreement.

"It is primarily a matter for the political entities to reach agreement on all important details. Something like that is not played out in the media. The government's composition proposal, the plan, and the program are presented only when an agreement is reached, and the goals and priorities are articulated. Everything else is rather inappropriate and an unnecessary burden for all of us," stated Krivokapic in a guest editorial for Podgorica's Vijesti.

According to Krivokapic, the most crucial challenge at the moment is the economy, and "partisans and Chetniks, whites and greens" should be left to "drive through the forests of history."

"Let's return them to the literature from whence they were dragged by the politicians of the failed economy. This was only done to cover their economic incompetence and bad intentions in the legal sphere, using issues that are not the concern of  the majority of the Montenegrin population," Krivokapic said.

The current economic situation in Montenegro far from positive. Krivokapic says that it reminds him of "a large, safe ship that the previous rulers broke up so that everyone could float on their own, on as large a piece of wood as possible."

However, Montenegro has so many opportunities for economic recovery that, as he points out, it seems to him that the change of government came at the final, but the still the right moment.

Montenegro is an ideal place for digital nomads, writes Krivokapic. "Work and travel opportunities need to be understood and methodically accepted. Agriculture is simply crying out for real support, and a serious plan must be made and implemented as soon as possible," he said, adding that he can promise that he will monitor the work of each ministry on a daily basis.

"I will follow the flow of money to the last cent. That is why I have already started with the IT sector, "wrote Krivokapic, pointing out that all political parties must recognize this new moment.

"It is time for those who want power or who think they are incapable of doing anything else to not enter politics," Krivokapic wrote, adding that "in the government, we need people who perceive this task as a great sacrifice, ready to spend a significant amount of time, being aware of how much, to every detail, they will be controlled by both domestic and international factors," he said.

Krivokapic points out that vanity, love of power, and love of glory will prove to be the wrong motives for this kind of work, and the future minister, instead of fame and money, could easily end up with a prison sentence if he acts illegally.

"No one in Montenegro, nor in the international community, of which we are a real part, will tolerate corruption, crime or incompetence any more. After all the conversations we have had, I am sure of one thing: there is no going back! Those who hope for a different outcome will be very disappointed," said Krivokapic.

Source: Vijesti

01 Oct 2020, 21:44 PM
October 1, 2020 - According to the latest forecasts from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Montenegrin economy will contract by nine percent this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which hit the tourism sector hard.
From May's projections, the EBRD forecast an 8% drop in Montenegro's gross domestic product (GDP).
"The pandemic has hit tourism hard. Overnight stays by foreign tourists decreased by 85% on an annual level in the first seven months. Also, most tourists visit the country during the summer months. The collapse in tourism will have a severe effect on GDP, to which tourism contributes about one-fifth," the report states, Mina reports.
In its Regional Economic Outlook published today, the EBRD estimates that Montenegro's GDP will grow by five percent next year, while it forecasted 10.5 percent growth in May.
"GDP is expected to recover by five percent next year. The risks are significant, namely the possibility that social distancing will be maintained well into next year," said the EBRD.
The section of the report related to Montenegro states that the economy moved into negative growth in the second quarter, with annual inflation averaging -0.7 percent for April-June.
"Government measures to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on individuals and firms, focusing on maintaining corporate liquidity, protecting jobs and supporting vulnerable groups, could bring public debt to 90 percent of GDP by the end of this year. Since it was close to 80 percent GDP at the end of last year," the report adds.
The EBRD predicts that output in the Western Balkans will fall by 5.1 percent this year due to collapses in tourism in Albania and Montenegro, disruptions in global supply chains and lower industrial production, and a drop in foreign direct investment and remittances. GDP growth could recover to 3.4 percent next year.
The EBRD now predicts an overall reduction of 3.9 percent this year and a return to growth of 3.6 percent next year. Previous forecasts projected a 3.5 percent drop this year and a 4.8 percent recovery next year.
The EBRD's chief economist, Beata Javorcik, said output in EBRD regions fell sharply in the second quarter, to about 8.2 percent year-on-year.
"In many economies, this contraction was more significant than the decline recorded during the global financial crisis. It is expected that the speed of recovery will be close to what was seen after that crisis, with pre-pandemic levels of GDP returning before the end of next year," Javorcik added.
Pressure on supply and demand was felt in the EBRD economies due to local economic measures. At the same time, external shocks included low commodity prices, reduced exports, a collapse in tourism, and a decline in remittances.
The latest set of forecasts provided by the bank is subject to a high degree of uncertainty and depends to some extent on the accuracy of early growth estimates in the first half of the year.
They are also sensitive as to whether governments will impose further restrictions, and how people will be able to react to the continued presence of the virus, perhaps through self-imposed social distancing.
The new report warned that some sectors, such as tourism, could face permanent damage, but others, such as online retail, could benefit from increased digitalization.
The EBRD stated that this year's contractions will be most significant in economies highly dependent on external sources of income, such as Albania, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, and Montenegro, which lost most of their tourist season this year.
Compared to the same period last year, exports from the EBRD region fell 14 percent in the first half of the year. International and domestic tourism fell sharply, while the arrival of foreign tourists in the EBRD region fell 65 percent in the first six months, compared to the same period last year.
Other heavily affected economies include countries with a massive decline in remittances, such as Kyrgyzstan or those firmly integrated into global trade chains, such as Slovakia.
Source: Mina News
30 Sep 2020, 23:48 PM

September 30, 2020 - The portal is now up and running. It is an ambitious project through which theaters, festivals, cultural centers, associations, and NGOs can inform the public about their work and their projects quickly and easily.

Ten electronic services have been made available to theater lovers in Montenegro since the beginning of September on the portal

The portal is an information hub for current and upcoming theater events and content in Montenegro, and is in important source from an informative, educational and entertainment perspective.

In the informative segment, will continuously publish all upcoming theater events to further develop and support theater art in Montenegro. In addition to its primary function of informing the public about theater events, the portal aims to present and promote professional literature.

"Portal will aim to follow all current theater events and happenings and to provide all related information. The theater audience will be able to read exciting and inspiring texts on theatrical art to find what interests them. But the portal will also be a platform where theater lovers will be able to review plays and express their opinions, said the editor of the portal Dubravka Matičić.

Also, there is a further service that is still under construction, which consists of a calendar of events, a repertoire divided by production, reviews from the audience, a wish list (with which portal users will be able to see when and where a favorite show will be performed), and a ticket reservation section.

The portal is open for cooperation with all institutions, festivals, associations, schools that deal with theater in any way, and individuals, whether they are actors, directors, producers, or just theater lovers, the portal editor added.

The portal designer is Kristijan Vujović.

The project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of Montenegro, through a competition to help independent artists affected by the pandemic's impact on the cultural sector, in partnership with the Royal Theater Zetski Dom.

30 Sep 2020, 23:06 PM
September 30, 2020 - "Montenegro must start working on negotiations with the European Union (EU) because if it does not undertake reforms, it will not progress towards the EU," the head of the European Parliament Delegation to Montenegro, Vladimír Bilcik, told Radio Free Europe (RFE).
"Montenegro was a leader in negotiations with the EU, it has all negotiation chapters open, but only a few temporarily closed, which is a problem. If reforms do not happen, Montenegro will not move closer to the EU. Everything is in the hands of the new government and the nstitutions in the country, so it would be a positive step to see that the goals and commitment of the new government, concerning the country's membership of the EU, are clear in that sense." Bilcik recalled that the EU would like at least one country in the region to be ready for EU membership by 2024.
How to achieve that and how all political forces, from the government and the opposition, can contribute to that, is what the new government in Montenegro needs to resolve, believes Bilcik.
"Achieving that goal requires broader political cooperation on reforms, reaching constitutional majorities in Parliament. Most importantly this means full implementation of reforms," ​​says Bilcik, who expects the European Commission to release an Enlargement Package next week that will include a progress report on Montenegro's path towards EU membership, but also to point out areas in which there is no progress.
"That is why I say that Montenegro must start moving. I expect that this report will reflect on the priorities that the new government in Montenegro will have to work on," says Bilcik.

Post-election atmosphere

Currently, Montenegro has a candidate for prime minister-designate proposed by the new parliamentary government, whose candidacy is to be confirmed by President Milo Djukanovic.
The elections of August 30 removed the three-decade-old government of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), headed by President Milo Đukanović. A new parliamentary majority was formed, electing the new president of the Assembly.
When asked about the post-election period in Montenegro, Bilcik welcomed the fact that the elections were peaceful and democratic, with a high turnout.
"The people voted for the changes. I welcome the fact that this has already been reflected in the formation of new institutions, such as that of the new Parliament and its new president. We also expect the formation of a new government for which negotiations are underway, which is a good sign for democracy. Simultaneously, we in the EU and the European institutions expect the government to be formed based on a clear and stable majority. What is crucial for the European institutions, especially for the European Parliament, is that that government maintains a pro-European course. Not only in words but - more importantly - in action, "Bilcik said.
The new parliamentary majority of 41 deputies in the 81-seat Parliament consists of the coalitions "For the Future of Montenegro" (27 deputies), "Peace is Our Nation" (ten deputies), and "Black On White" (four deputies) led by Zdravko Krivokapic, Aleksa Bečić, and Dritan Abazović.
The pro-Serbian and pro-Russian Democratic Front (DF) has the most significant influence in the strongest coalition. The Democrats lead the second- Peace is our Nation, and the third coalition's backbone is the civic movement URA.
When it comes to problems during the negotiations regarding the new government (disagreements over whether to form an expert government  or one of politicians), Bilcik considers this part of the Montenegrin domestic political scene.
"But it is also a kind of test of the stability and maturity of democracy in Montenegro. The government must be formed within the constitutional and political prerogatives of the country. We are following the negotiations and are encouraged that the Parliament elected a new president in the first session. This, alongside the fact that political forces that previously boycotted the sessions are now in Parliament. I hope that means a new government will be formed soon," he said.
Bilcik adds that Montenegro has been committed to EU membership for years, has become a NATO member, and has chosen the Western and European path.
"Concerning the profile of the new government, it is important that it is maintained and even strengthened. I hope that pro-Western, pro-European, and pro-reform goals will be at the top of its agenda. What could be discouraging in that sense is if we see any sudden changes in Montenegro's expected positions on international issues. It is something we will follow closely, "Bilcik said when asked by RFE about the profile of the new government that this could be an obstacle to the European integration process.
"This is an important time for Montenegro, these were important elections, and we all hope to have dedicated cooperation with the future government and parliament," Bilcik adds.

SOC and elections

When asked to comment on the participation of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in the election and post-election period, such as the negotiations before the formation of the new Parliament, Bilcik said that religion is an integral part of every society, but also underlines EU practices on this issue.
"It is important to preserve freedom of religion, but at the same time, it is important to have a clear separation of church and state. It is part of political practice across the EU, and it is something we consider should be a practice in candidate countries. There must be mutual respect for the independence of state institutions by the church, and vice versa. Therefore, political decisions on the future of Montenegro should be made by politicians and political parties and the citizens who elected them," Bilcik replied.
Commenting on the DPS's criticism that the EU did not, as they stated, adequately react to Serbia and the Serbian Orthodox Church's interference in the Montenegrin elections, Bilcik says that he has repeatedly said that the campaign should be free and fair.
"We are still waiting for the final report of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) observation mission, which will assess the election process, including the campaign. The Enlargement Package will also include an assessment of the political situation in Montenegro. We have followed the process, analyzed it, and expressed our concerns. Still, in the end, the political decision, the political campaign, and the political changes are in the hands of political actors and the citizens of Montenegro," Bilcik added.
He believes that the EU's role in the enlargement process must be separated from the political game in a country.
"In no case can it be accepted that the EU can in any way be to blame for the outcome of the elections in any third country, which includes candidate countries, including Montenegro," Bilcik said.

The situation in the region

Answering as to whether he sees the danger of conflicts in the region, an issue raised recently by President Djukanovic, who called for protection of the European space from a potential new war in the Balkans due to ethnic conflicts in Montenegro, Bilčík said that everyone must learn historical lessons from the tragic events of the 1990s.
In Djukanovic's message, Bilcik sees a clear need for what the EU and the European Parliament are advocating. That is the need for regional cooperation between countries and ethnic groups in the Western Balkans.
"Our policy is an enlargement policy with a significant focus on reconciliation, regional cooperation, and the ability of local actors to find common solutions to conflicts. In that sense, conflict is something that must be prevented, because that, of course, is not the way to move towards a European perspective," concludes Bilcik.
29 Sep 2020, 13:02 PM
September 29, 2020 - While we are awaiting the designation of a protected area in the Katič Sea, habitats of the sea meadow Posidonia Oceanica are slowly disappearing, claims NGO Green Home.
The NGO, in cooperation with the Montenegrin Society of Ecologists (CDE) and the Mediterranean Center for Environmental Monitoring, conducted monitoring and analysis of the seagrass Posidonia Oceanica in the waters of the future protected area in the Katič Sea. Monitoring was conducted at five locations in the space between the Black Cape and Cape Skočiđevojka. Ecologists analyzed the Posidonia density, distribution to the seabed, lower population limit, and resistance to depth.
Analysis of the data obtained on the condition of the Posidonia meadows in the area of ​​the future protected sea area in Katič shows that the situation is good, but not ideal. Particularly, regressive changes were observed, especially compared to 2010 measurements, according to the NGO Green Home.
The markers of Posidonia's settlement's borders, placed in 2010 in the seabed of the island of Sveta Neđelja, indicated that the area had been receding.
- Knowing about the change in shore in front of Hotel As and the significant turbidity of the water in this locality, which occurs mainly in the winter months after heavy rains and washing of the terrain, it is most likely that the reduced transparency of seawater caused these regressive changes in Posidonia meadows. In addition to soil leaching, there may be other negative impacts such as wastewater spills, meadow erosion due to anchoring or other physical loads, but also seawater flow, which is very pronounced in some locations - they point out in their statement.
The seagrass Posidonia Oceanica is a protected species under national and international legislation (Habitat Directive 92/43 / EU) and is one of the two most essential oxygen producers on the planet. Posidonia Oceanica is exclusively distributed in the Mediterranean Sea and is of great importance to sea flora and fauna. Precisely because of its ecological importance, it has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. However, as they explain, due to negative anthropogenic influences (pollution, anchoring, trapping, explosive poaching, and other physical-mechanical impacts), this endemic species is has become endangered.
To prevent further degradation of sea meadows, Green Home and its partners have defined recommendations for reducing and removing negative impacts on this critical marine habitat, and ensuring its protection. These recommendations include ensuring continuous monitoring of the state of Posidonia, elimination and reduction of negative anthropogenic influences, and the development of educational programs tailored to both local communities and tourists on the importance and protection of marine biodiversity.
- If we want to protect marine habitats that are in regression, Montenegro must declare the first protected area in the sea, which has been waiting for such a formal act for 13 years - Green Home reports.
The activity of monitoring and analyzing sea meadows was carried out through the project Support to Local Communities in the Promotion and Protection of the Future Protected Area in the Sea - Katič, funded by the Partnership Fund for Critical Ecosystems (CEPF).
27 Sep 2020, 15:57 PM

September 27, 2020 - The Institute of Public Health (IPH) has appealed to the public in general and "influential individuals" to call for strict adherence to measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Institute called on the public to stay in their houses as much as possible, to wear masks, and maintain physical distance.

"Given the rampant local transmission, the large number of cases in hospitals and the enormous pressure on the health system, the IPH has proposed to the National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases the introduction of additional measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. "Aware of the difficult situation caused by non-compliance with the measures, we appeal to all people, and specifically to all influential individuals to call for strict adherence to the measures adopted," the Institute said in a statement.

These measures, the implementation of which will start tomorrow, will ensure that we suppress the intensive spread of the epidemic in the first half of October and preserve the population's health and lives, added the IPH.

"We are aware of the economic situation and the problems that will arise due to the proposal of such measures, but this is the only way to try to control the challenging epidemiological situation and help the healthcare system stay on its feet. We do everything our colleagues do everywhere. We call on you to be united, disciplined, and responsible for yourself and your loved ones. "

Only in this way, as they point out, can we help both ourselves and the medical workers who "are fighting for every human life with superhuman efforts."

"Dear citizens, please stay in your homes as much as possible, wear masks, and maintain physical distance. This appeal refers to all citizens of Montenegro, regardless of whether there is a higher or lower level of transmission in their local communities," concludes the IPH, asking for assistance to cope with this challenging period.

27 Sep 2020, 15:43 PM
September 27, 2020 - The NGOs WWF and Bankwatch are calling on the governments of Western Balkan countries to abolish incentives for small hydropower plants (sHPPs), which pose the greatest danger to Europe's last free-flowing rivers.
"Freshwater ecosystems are disappearing at an alarming rate. According to the latest State of the Planet Report, the population of freshwater species has declined by 84% since 1970. Over 60% of Europe's rivers are in poor condition, mostly due to degradation and destruction by dams, hydropower, canals, unsustainable extraction of sand and gravel, poorly planned navigation infrastructure, etc. It is not surprising, therefore, that some of the most degraded river areas are located in Europe, "WWF and Bankwatch said in a statement.
They added that despite this, on World River Day, which this year is being held on September 27, it is essential to highlight parts of the old continent where rivers still flow freely.
"Our region is home to the last free-flowing rivers in Europe, but they are under a lot of pressure today. State incentives are the main reason why around 2,700 sHPPs are planned across the Balkans. If this is not stopped, hundreds of rivers will be destroyed. With this type of construction, they could lose 5,000 km of untouched rivers," reads a statement from WWF and Bankwatch.
"The development of small hydropower plants is one of the biggest threats to rivers in the Balkans. More absurdly- these senseless projects are directly sponsored by state funds and do not benefit either the energy sector or the state initiatives - we are calling on their countries to stop the construction of sHPPs. Now is the right time for the Western Balkan countries to lift incentives that destroy nature and to protect Europe's last wild river," said Zoran Mateljak, freshwater program manager at WWF Adria.
The statement also states that in the countries of the Western Balkans, the number of hydropower plants with a capacity of up to 10 MW has quadrupled over the past ten years.
"It is clear from this that the governments of the countries in the region are prioritizing the development of small hydropower plants. Data for 2018 tell us that 70% of all incentives for renewable energy sources were spent on small hydropower plants at the regional level," said WWF and Bankwatch.
"The European Union has already abandoned the system of preferential prices for all but the smallest projects. Therefore, the existing incentive system in most Western Balkan countries is at odds with the recommendations on state aid for environmental protection and energy," explained Pippa Gallop, energy adviser for Southeast Europe at Bankwatch.
"Governments must urgently change laws and regulations to prevent further unnecessary destruction of our rivers," she added.
WWF and Bankwatch said that the disproportionate environmental and social damage caused by small hydropower plants related to the amount of electricity produced has already been recognized by the Energy Community and the European Union's Technical Expert Group on Financial Taxonomy, and is also in the EU document in the countries of the Western Balkans.
"However, the countries of the region are working very slowly on diversifying the use of renewable energy sources and stopping incentives," the statement reads.
"The analyses we conducted indicate that encouraging sHPPs makes no sense. In addition to producing immeasurable damage to nature and local communities, they also produce large financial losses for the Montenegrin people. When we have to face the recession and economic crisis that will follow, the state "should stop investing in harmful projects. Moreover, focusing on 'green' solutions and the economy stands out as one of the best ways out of this crisis, and is a guarantee of a sustainable future for the whole country," said Milija Cabarkapa from WWF Adria.
"Given that the countries of the Western Balkans are now going through the process of setting their policies and goals related to the production of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, it is time to stop incentives. Instead, they should focus on alternatives that have less impact on nature and people. They include increasing energy efficiency or investing in energy sources such as the sun or wind, for which there is great potential in the region if adequately planned and with the participation of the public," concludes Gallop.
27 Sep 2020, 15:02 PM
September 27, 2020 - Montenegrin wine production has received confirmation of its proclaimed high quality on the international scene - all Montenegrin participants can boast of medals won at one of the world's largest festivals, held in London 
Winemakers recognized for their excellent red wines, are ready to conquer even the most discerning white wine markets, results of  the "Decanter world wine awards, London, England 2020" confirmed.
At one of the most esteemed quality tests, the wineries finished with gold, eight silver, and three bronze medals.
Samples from Montenegro were sent to London by only four wineries, and each came away with at least one medal.
In addition to the inevitable giant - "Plantaže", which won gold for "Vranac Pro Corde" from 2016, and numerous other medals for a wide range, the wines of Grbalj winery "Castel Savina", and Podgorica's "Bogojevic" and "Vukicevic" drew significant attention. During the previous week in London, silver medals were earned by the Chardonnay "Castel Savina", the red wine "Bogdan" from the winery Bogojević, and the white wine "Malvazija" from the winery Vukićević from Beri.
Malvasija was the closest in terms of points to the gold medal of Montenegrin white wines in London.
"Those few points needed for gold were taken away by the fact that we were a candidate for young wine from the 2018 harvest. If we had run for Malvasija in 2016, we would surely have won a gold medal. However, we are a small winery, and we wanted to prove the quality of wine that people can buycurrently, since the older vintages are almost sold out. We achieved the goal, and I received confirmation from London that we have top-quality red wines in Montenegro, but also excellent white wines. To those who would doubt us, I'd tell them to try Malvasija. In addition to the Malvasija wine, we received a bronze medal for the young wine 'Vranac Vukićević' and we are incredibly proud of the quality of the wine of our family winery," emphasized agronomist Filip Vukićević.
In just five years since its founding, the winery "Vukićević" has proven its quality at all the most prestigious fairs.
"We only perform at fairs in the region and Montenegro, while for the most prestigious samples we send by express mail, and even that is expensive for us. However, this season with the pandemic, it was confirmed that wine production has far exceeded the market's needs. It is a pity that all our wineries did not participate in Paris and London. Only by participating can we position ourselves on the world wine map and expand the market because we have quality and reasonable prices. In addition to the award-winning wines, we have started the production of chardonnay this season, we have rosé, and also grape brandy 'Vukićević,'" explained Filip Vukićević.
Podgorica vineyards, based on the results and experience of Vukićević, have vast potential.
"We have 18,000 vines, but in a crisis due to a pandemic, it is risky to increase the numbers. Our goal is to expand the capacity of the base and procure equipment. There are announcements that there will be an international assistance program for precisely that through the Ministry of Agriculture ... ".
Vukicevic points out that in this coronavirus year sales started only after the opening of the borders, and that the previous figures were not good either.
"We hope that the New Year's holidays will bring profit, otherwise many wine producers will be in trouble at the beginning of the next harvest. That is why we do not plan to expand the vineyard for now. We must continue to participate in the most prestigious fairs to get a foothold in other markets. Only better positioning will avoid the problem of a small market - it will be difficult to survive otherwise if we have another crisis season".
26 Sep 2020, 21:20 PM

September 26, 2020 - Elementary and high school students in Montenegro should start the new school year on October 1, which will take place in conditions adapted to the current epidemiological situation. According to the Ministry of Education plan, students in the last three grades of primary and upper secondary school levels will attend classes entirely online, with the organization of examinations at the school. Students in other years will go to school in groups of a maximum of 15 children, with the obligatory wearing of protective masks. Is the decision discriminatory? And what impact will it have on children's psycho-social development at adolescence?

In general, the situation surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic has affected children in different ways, points out pedagogue Dr.Sci Jelena Perunovic Samardzic. In addition to the impact on education, there is also a broad impact on their mental health.

"The children have faced a lot. They've put up with isolation, with the story of the deadly virus, they're bombarded with these things every day, both through the media and from other sources on all sides - they are scared and confused. They've been taught to fear things, in a certain way. What is very unusual for them is that during the isolation, which is still present in a way, is that have been in far less contact with their peers, which leaves a mark on them, both in the socio-emotional and psychological sense. It was especially prevalent during the first wave of the epidemic. And yet it has an impact even now, assuming that we are socially responsible and teach our children such behavior. We have to change our habits and give children an example to follow so that they accept the new reality," says Dr. Perunovic Samardzic.

"I think we will have a problem now that the children need to go to kindergarten and school. School children will face the situation whereby they have to maintain physical distance and not have contact with their friends and teachers. When they are in groups, it will be difficult for them to adhere to the measures, and that will certainly affect them," says Dr. Perunovic Samardzic.

The Ministry of Education has presented the necessary recommendations for the organization of classes in the school year 2020/21. Following the personnel and space capacities, the administrations of each school in Montenegro will have to respond. The summer months were used to review European practices in the organization of online teaching and train 2,000 teachers from all over Montenegro, enabling a better quality of educational process in the coming period. However, the questions without answers do not only affect education and barriers of a technical nature. Seventh, eighth, and ninth-grade students are "condemned" to a lack of interaction with peers, which can have severe consequences for them.

"Online teaching is a useful tool, but I think it is not enough, and is certainly not the best way for students to acquire knowledge, especially when it comes to adolescents. In general, we know how much children at that age behave rebelliously towards imposed situations, so it won't be easy to get and keep their attention. Children at this age learn tolerance, empathy, experience the first disappointments, and fall in love for the first time. The fact that they will not go to school deprives them of a large part of the social space in which all this takes place."

Students in the most sensitive period are discriminated against compared with other children, by being completely denied school desks, and consequences for their psycho-social development can be expected.

"During distance learning, solidarity, empathy is lost; there is no socializing, no establishing new friendships. Therefore, there is no falling in love, which is an integral part of personality formation. Consequently, I think that this type of teaching is hazardous for the socialization of children and, in general, for their functioning later in life, "says Dr. Perunovic Samardzic.

In cooperation with the British Embassy in Montenegro, UNICEF conducted a survey questioning parents' opinions on whether children in the current situation should attend school in the classical way or online. More than 73 percent of parents believe that children should attend school regularly regardless of the epidemiological situation. Dr. Perunovic Samardzic believes their position is completely justified from the pedagogical point of view.

"There were several suggestions and possible models to organize classes. The Ministry of Education has decided on an organization that means that students in the last cycle of primary education, as well as upper grades of high school, attend school entirely online," says Dr. Perunovic Samardzic. As to whether there is a pedagogical justification for such a division of children by age, Dr. Perunovic Samardzic explained:

"I believe that children are discriminated against by age without any pedagogical justification. Especially because of the sensitivity of the age we are talking about and the importance of socialization during adolescence. There is no justification for leaving their developmental interests aside. As parents, and we will do it from the profession's perspective, we should appeal to the Ministry of Education to allow those children to attend classes according to the classical model as much as possible in the current epidemiological situation."

We must enable our children to function normally as far as is possible. Dr. Perunovic Samardzic concludes by emphasizing that the current situation is no excuse not to do our best to provide children with the best conditions for mental, physical, socio-emotional, and psychological development.

25 Sep 2020, 23:10 PM

September 25, 2020 - The European Union (EU) recognizes Montenegro as a leader in the integration process, stated the Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Oana-Cristina Popa, stating that a significant proportion of the work has already been completed. Today, she was received by the President of the Assembly, Aleksa Becic, who said that he was satisfied with his first meeting with Popa after taking office.

Becic thanked her for the support that the EU has provided to Montenegro so far in the process of reforms and democratization, which, as he said, confirmed that the Western Balkans is still a major focus for the EU.

Becic emphasized that the EU's assistance in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic was far greater than that provided by other international organizations.

"Having in mind the complex socio-economic and epidemiological situation, it is imperative that the new government is constituted as quickly and efficiently as possible." Significantly, minority parties supported my election, and I hope that they will be part of the new Government. Our common goal is to strengthen the civil state," Becic said.

He reiterated that the agreement signed by the representatives of the coalitions in the new parliamentary majority confirms that the new Government will be pro-Montenegrin, pro-European, pro-Western, civil, and conciliatory.

Becic mentioned that he would strengthen cooperation within NATO and accelerate European integration, which unites Montenegrin society.

He emphasized that the Assembly will remain open for project cooperation in the coming period, especially in supervisory and control roles, transparency, and efficiency.

Speaking about Chapters 23 and 24, Becic pointed out that stagnation in the integration process is not an option, that the new model of negotiations will give an additional boost to those who are efficient in implementing reforms, and that victory in the fight against organized crime and corruption is the only guarantee of a prosperous and stable Montenegro.

He pointed out that he sees the future of Montenegro and the Western Balkans as part of the EU and that this path has no alternative for the entire region.

Popa said that she was looking forward to excellent and efficient cooperation with Becic and the Assembly's new convocation to jointly lead Montenegro more swiftly towards EU membership.

Speaking about the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic, she emphasized that the EU has operational mechanisms to support Montenegro.

Popa said that the European Commission would publish two important documents on October 6 - the Enlargement Report for 2020 and the EU Investment Plan.

"The EU recognizes Montenegro as a leader in the integration process. A significant part of the work has already been done. That is why you have a great responsibility as a model for other countries in the region. The issue of integration of the Western Balkans countries is still on the table, and the European perspective is something we take very seriously," Popa emphasized.

She congratulated Becic on his election as President of the Montenegrin Parliament and said she was pleased with the peaceful transition of power.

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