Politics

25 May 2020, 00:59 AM

May 25, 2020 - "Montenegro has been an exemplary country in many ways, among the EU candidate countries. But it is no longer that!" says Tanja Fajon, Member of the EU Parliament, thus expressing her concern for the latest developments in Montenegro.

There is no crisis - including this current, health one - that could serve as an excuse to undermine democratic standards, she added. And she thinks of the violations of the privacy of Montenegrin citizens: a few weeks ago, the government published the full names and addresses of people who tested positive for the corona virus on its official internet portal. She also thinks of the ongoing conflict with the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro. It marked the months before the corona crisis, and will probably seal it until the parliamentary elections lately in October this year.

During the corona crisis, the American organization Freedom House (Freedom House) issued a lousy testimony of behavior to the Montenegrin government. In its annual report on the state of democracy, the organization defined Montenegro as a "hybrid regime" in a "gray zone between democracy and open autocracy." And this organization accuses the political elite of Montenegro of authoritarian rule, abuse of power, severe deficits in the judiciary, the fight against corruption, and media freedoms.

However, the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists will not benefit from its crisis management in the crown. This phenomenon is known as the "preventive paradox": since Montenegro went through the crisis smoothly, the Montenegrin public did not register it as a "real" crisis. And thus the successes of preventive measures.

On the other hand: it will not affect the behavior of voters in the elections. Despite all the international criticism of the country's political leadership, especially that Montenegro has not made visible progress in EU accession talks for a long time, observers believe the DPS, the party of 30-year-old longtime regent Milo Djukanovic, will win parliamentary elections again in October.

Montenegro was the last country in Europe to be diagnosed with a corona infection. And there is a chance that it will be the first in Europe to declare the end of the corona epidemic. According to WHO regulations, this requires that there be no new virus outbreaks for 28 days in a row. When we wrote this, there were already 17 days without new cases.

As the first "corona free" destination in Europe, Montenegro hopes to be still able to save the 2020 tourist season. The first steps in that direction have already been taken. Beaches and hotels have been open since May 18. And from June 1, Montenegro will most likely open its borders to neighboring countries.

Author: Srdjan Govedarica, in collaboration with Zoran Ikonic and Dejan Stefanovic

19 May 2020, 22:45 PM
May 19, 2020 - The announcement that Montenegro will soon be a coronavirus-free destination has aroused great interest in the United Arab Emirates, said the new UAE ambassador, HE Abdulaziz Nasser Saeed Al Shamsi, during the meeting with Montenegro President, Mr Milo Đukanović, who received today her credential letter, as well as the one from the newly appointed Ambassador of the Slovak Republic, HE Boris Gandel.
 
Following the reception of credential letters, the President received ambassadors and thanked them for their understanding having in mind that the ceremony itself had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
 
“I am pleased to have this ceremony held in the Old Royal Capital Cetinje, in line with the usual protocol, which is entirely proper when ambassadors of friendly Slovakia and the UAE, to which we are bound by many beautiful and important dates in the recent history of the Montenegrin state, come to Montenegro,” the President said in an introductory speech.
 
Speaking with Mr. Gandel, President Đukanović said that he had been satisfied with the overall relations between the two states, being additionally fostered and improved over the past decade.
 
Đukanović Gandel 4 1320x880
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“Montenegro does not forget the role that Slovakia and its diplomacy had in the process of regaining its independence, NATO accession, and the process of EU integration,” he said.
 
Mr. Gandel congratulated the President on the forthcoming Independence Day, noting that Slovakia played its role in it.
 
His mission will be to foster the existing relations between the two states even more.
 
As for the meeting with the UAE Ambassador, President Đukanović stressed that he had been assured that running a mandate in a friendly country represents the special privilege just as it’s a privilege for Montenegro to have the UAE and its top officials as friends.
 
“Friendship between our countries has been confirmed in the time of the coronavirus, with the donation from UAE to Montenegro following my conversation with Sheikh Mohammed, and we are deeply grateful to you,” the President said.
 
HE Abdulaziz Nasser Saeed Al Shamsi noted that she was glad to be in Montenegro, pointing out the extraordinary relations between the two governments.
 
“Montenegro has made remarkable progress,“ said the Ambassador and congratulated President  Đukanović on significant achievements and the right path Montenegro has been following.
 
Source: CDM
07 May 2020, 14:42 PM
May 7, 2020 - The EU-Western Balkans Summit was held via video link on Wednesday, hosted by the President of the Council of Europe, Charles Michel, Prime Minister of Croatia, currently presiding over the EU, Andrej Plenkovic, and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. The main topics of the conference gathering leaders of the Western Balkans and top EU officials were the fight against the coronavirus and the European future of the region.
 
Leaders of the six Western Balkan countries and EU member countries have been discussing issues related to cooperation in the fight with the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences. The participants also accepted the Zagreb Declaration. As stated in the lead of the document, the Declaration is another confirmation of the EU's "strong solidarity with our partners in the context of the coronavirus crisis.
 
High ranking Addressing the group, President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, said that Brussels's help and support proved that the EU's solidarity didn't stop at its borders and that this was a testament to European unity. He stressed that the Balkans shouldn't be left to third parties. Djukanovic also said it was time for the EU to assume a new position on the global scene, through strengthening stability and finishing the process of European enlargement.
 
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that the EU was ready to support reform and the EU integration efforts of its neighboring countries. The Croatian government said that the EU would support the six Western Balkan countries in the fight against Covid-19 and that the European Commission (EC) was preparing a significant economic aid package, which will coincide with Western Balkan country progress reports.
 
The President of the Council of Europe, Charles Michel, stressed that it was important for the countries of the region to continue with reforms, the strengthening of the rule of law, adherence to democratic values and the fight against corruption, which he said was crucial for the Western Balkans' European future.
06 May 2020, 16:51 PM
May 6, 2020 - Montenegro and Serbia, for the first time since 2003, are not democratic states, the report of the "Transition Countries" report by the non-governmental organization Freedom House, a document that explores and describes the governance of 29 countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, reports Voice of America.
 
In the 2020 report, Montenegro and Serbia are categorized as transition governments or hybrid regimes - in which power is grounded in authoritarianism as a result of incomplete democratic change.
 
Such a government, in one state, can simultaneously carry out political repression and call elections.
 
"Albania, Serbia, and Montenegro have seen the most significant decline – considering all Balkan countries, while Serbia and Montenegro have regressed in the fight against corruption. There is no effective action in response to high-level corruption cases, and there are instances of dissolution of institutions and reluctance to act to counteract corruption effectively, "Michael Smeltzer from Freedom House told the Voice of America.
 
The report covers 29 countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the former Communist bloc, classifying them into five categories: consolidated democracies, semi-consolidated democracies, transitional or hybrid regimes, semi-consolidated authoritarian regimes, and consolidated authoritarian regimes.
 
When it comes to Montenegro, Michael Smeltzer, a Freedom House researcher, tells Voice of America that the problems are most evident in the judiciary.
 
"Negative trends and shortcomings in independent work have been reported in this area. In this regard, researchers have noted the worrying cases of scandal in the judiciary and the prosecution. The concern is further intensified by the fact that the mandate of members of the Judicial Council expires, "Smeltzer said.
 
Also, the report analyzes problems in the Montenegrin parliamentary practice.
 
"In 2016, members of the opposition refused to participate in the work of the Assembly, since - after the elections, which they labeled as unfair - for the tenth time, the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) took power. The ruling DPS-dominated Assembly has slowed down electoral reforms - making it difficult to boycott opposition lawmakers. The DPS-dominated parliament has slowly led electoral reforms, though they have also been hampered by difficulties in collecting quorums during the boycott. However, there were no major problems in gaining votes to adopt the controversial Freedom of Religion Act," it said, among other things, in a report on Montenegro.
 
Smeltzer, an expert at Freedom House, a Washington-based NGO, points out that many Central and Eastern European leaders no longer pretend to dream of democracy and the rule of law.
 
"The conclusions we have come to are incredibly discouraging. We have found that leaders and politicians in the area are no longer hiding behind democratic facades. Their masks have fallen, and they are no longer hiding behind respect for nominal values ​​and are openly attacking democratic institutions, "Smeltzer emphasizes.
20 Dec 2019, 17:15 PM

December 20, 2019 - Today’s session of the Defense and Security Council was dedicated to the consideration of the Decision on the Engagement of the members of the Armed Forces of Montenegro in order to support administration authority in charge of protecting state borders from illegal migrations.

 

The session, which was held in Cetinje, was presided over by Mr Milo Đukanović, Montenegro’s president.

“After consideration, the Decision was adopted. In 2020, the Armed Forces of Montenegro will deploy its members in seven international taskforces. The decision was adopted on the basis of the assumed NATO responsibilities, EU accession process, regional initiatives, bilateral cooperation plans and needs of the Armed Forces for specific training sessions and exercises, with the aim of further developing military capacities in 2020”, said representatives of President’s Office.

Members of the Council are familiar with the activities Montenegro undertook in countering hybrid threats in 2019 and the Information on the cyber activity performed by Montenegro in 2018 and 2019.

 

The Council concluded that competent ministries should continue to develop protection capacities to respond adequately to cyber and hybrid threats.

Text by CDM, read more here.

To read more about politics in Montenegro, follow TMN's dedicated page.

17 Dec 2019, 08:39 AM

December 17, 2019 - The development of the Airports of Montenegro has no alternative. It’s a matter of development, not political differences, said Prime Minister, Mr Duško Marković, who is on his official visit to Tivat.

 

“Airports of Montenegro management, led by the Board of Directors, has done a lot for the past three years. I expect a lot from the concession, I want to see new infrastructure with a terminal in Tivat. Top-quality for the citizens and the state”, pointed out Mr Marković.

He added that Tivat could serve as an example to other municipalities.

“After successful investment schemes in culture, education and sport, transport is our top priority now. Congratulations on your commitment to improving social and sports infrastructure. Tivat sets en example to other municipalities”, said Mr Marković.

 

Prime Minister points out that the Government’s committed to building a modern healthcare facility in the Bay.

“We need to do that since Montenegro is considered to be an elite tourist destination”, said mr Marković.

Mr Marković and Mr Siniša Kusovac, president of the Municipality of Tivat, marked the commencement of works on the construction of a roundabout in Tivat.

Text by CDM, read more here

To read more about politics in Montenegro, follow TMN's dedicated page.

13 Dec 2019, 07:33 AM

December 13, 2019 - On 14 December, Montenegro’s Prime Minister, Mr Duško Marković, will be on his official visit to the Holy See, where he will hold talks with Pope Francis.

Mr Marković will also have meetings with the Secretary for Relations States, Mr Paul Gallagher. He will also visit Historical Archives and meet with its director, Mr Johan Iks.

Government representatives say that Mr Marković’s visit to the Vatican is aimed at further strengthening already stable political relations and highest-level dialogue.

“The fundamental agreement between Montenegro and the Holy See, signed in June 2011, represents a platform for deepening and improving overall inter-state relations. Two parties attach great importance to its full application and thus organize regular sessions of the Mixed Commission to discuss bilateral questions and other questions relevant to the Catholic community and the Catholic church in Montenegro”, said Government representatives.

The visit to the Vatican will enhance cooperation between the two states, especially in the domain of political dialogue. They will discuss the possibility of Pope Francis’ visit to Montenegro.

 

“The fundamental agreement between Montenegro and the Holy See regulates the most important segments of bilateral relations. Therefore, activities related to its implementation are expected to become more dynamic”.

Mr Marković’s official visit to the Holy See means the continuation of the highest-level talks, based on the principles of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding.

“At the same time, this visit is a chance to highlight how important it is for us to cooperate with the Holy See and to demonstrate our resolve to pledge support for the opening of Holy See’s nunciature in Podgorica. The visit will confirm a constructive approach to the implementation of the Fundamental agreement through regular sessions of the Mixed Commission”, concluded representatives of the Government.

The delegation of Montenegro will be headed by Mr Duško Marković.

Text by CDM, read more here

To read more about politics in Montenegro, follow TCN's dedicated page

08 Dec 2019, 07:20 AM

December 8, 2019 - Everything points out to the fact that the opposition does not want to reach agreements, as it means that we must approve the election results in the end and congratulate the winner. That has never happened so far. Therefore, we have enough reasons to believe that they [the opposition] already know they cannot win, and it’s just a matter of time when they are going to reveal their alibi questioning the validity of elections, Mr Andrija Nikolić, the DPS MP said in an interview for Dnevne Novine daily.

 

Mr Nikolić was talking about current events on the political scene, in the Montenegrin parliament, the Committee on the Electoral Legislation Reform, as well as about the messages from the recently held DPS Congress, noting that the strongest Montenegrin party at its 8th Congress “have come as a leader of the emancipation movement in Montenegro”.

 

He said: “First all alone, then along with the coalition partners, the DPS has staged all the victories in the new political history of Montenegro. We have reasons to be satisfied with what we have achieved, but there’s no place for the exaggerated feeling of euphoria. Even though we are entering the election year with optimism, our mission is of a long-term character. That’s a key message we’re sending from the Congress to the citizens of Montenegro. And it’s based on the data that Montenegro is among leaders in Europe when it comes to the economic growth rate over the two last years. Our task is that the growth reflected through the motorway, construction and reconstruction of many main and regional roads, energy facilities, construction of new schools and kindergartens, decreased unemployment rate by 8 per cent and increase in the number of employees for 30,000, the citizens of MNE can additionally feel in their wallets.”

Text by CDM, read more here.

To read more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

05 Dec 2019, 19:22 PM

December 5, 2019 - Montenegro is in a place where it can contribute to peace and stability, said the president of Montenegro’s Government, Mr Duško Marković, who is attending NATO Summit in London. 

Prime Minister said that meeting leaders of ally countries were a great opportunity for Montenegro to confirm its NATO membership, which is crucial to our security.

Summit in London is organized to mark NATO’s 70th anniversary.

Mr Marković says that the Summit is a confirmation of the power of union and solidarity of its members.

“Decisions made at the Summit today encourage and improve NATO policies and its ability to counter threats. NATO’s commitment when it comes to Western Balkans is clear. The attendance of North Macedonia proves it”, says Prime Minister.

Mr Marković says this was a great opportunity for Montenegro to reiterate that it supports NATO and cherishes its values.

“NATO is important for the security of the region and our country. Cooperation between Montenegro and NATO is very comprehensive. This was a very successful Summit that conveyed messages of unity, power and solidarity”, pointed out Mr Marković.

President of the Government confirmed that messages conveyed by the French president, Mr Emmanuel Macron, were also discussed at the Summit.

“We should work on strengthening NATO. Mr Macron himself agreed”, said Mr Mrković.

A CHANCE AND A CHALLENGE

China’s progress was also one of the topics discussed at the Summit.

 

“China is a chance and a challenge for Montenegro and the Alliance as a whole. We should do our best to understand China as much as we can”, says PM.

VALUES OF THE DEVELOPED WORLD

Mr Marković said that Montenegro’s interest was not only to become part of some alliance, but its main interest was to develop and improve living standards.

“NATO Member States create conditions for a better life. After Montenegro became NATO member, it got a chance to develop its economy in a sustainable way and that’s why our economy has been recording enormous growth”, says Mr Marković.

NORTH MACEDONIA TO BECOME NATO MEMBER NEXT YEAR

Prime Minister said that the fact that North Macedonia “will become NATO member next year” was very encouraging.

“That’s important for the entire Western Balkans”, says Mr Marković.

€35 MILLION FOR MILITARY EQUIPMENT

Asked is Montenegro was really negotiating with Israel reading the purchase of armament, Mr Marković says that one of its duties is to earmark a specific amount for the defense.

“There’s no hidden agenda. By 2024, we want to reach a 2% level of funds intended for defense. We’ve already provided part. We’ve earmarked €35 million for the provision of equipment next year”, says Mr Marković.

Montenegrin soldiers will be part of the military mission in Iraq.

At the beginning of the Summit, Mr Marković met with the President of the Government of Canada, Mr Justin Trudeau and President of Latvia, Mr Egils Levits.

During the meeting with Mr Trudeau, the emphasis was put on great bilateral relations with Canada, and high-quality cooperation within NATO.

Meeting with the Latvian president was dedicated to Latvia’s support for the European integration of Montenegro and WB countries.

Mr Levits said that they appreciated Montenegro’s contribution to the goals of the Alliance.

Text by CDM on December 4, 2019, read more here

To read more about politics in Montenegro, follow TMN's dedicated page

01 Dec 2019, 10:17 AM

December 1, 2019 - Delegates of the eighth DPS Congress held today in Podgorica re-elected Mr Milo Đukanović as the party leader, while Mr Duško Marković was re-elected as a deputy leader of the party. There were 598 delegates who took part in the work of the Congress, and after all the votes were counted, it was noted that two votes concerning Mr Đukanović were invalid, and as for Mr Marković, two were invalid and two against his election for the function of the party’s vice-president.

“We have fulfilled all the promises made at the previous congress. We have managed to preserve Montenegro’s stability, to join NATO and move towards the EU, which are important steps in the area of economic and democratic development,” President Đukanović said after his re-election.

According to him, the DPS is steadily moving towards the Europeanization and emancipation of the Montenegrin society, and it creates conditions for a quality life of citizens.

“Over the last four years, the DPS has more or less won all the electoral victories. The party is in power in 17 municipalities. There is no room for being relaxed. We have a long-term mission. There are challenges regarding further economic development because in that way it’s possible to solve numerous social problems,” he was adamant.

Mr Đukanović and Mr Marković were the only candidates running for these posts.

 

In addition, the Congress elected the Main Committee comprising 146 members, the Statutory Commission, the Supervisory Board and adopted the party’s Political Program.

Text by CDM on November 30, 2019, read more here

To read more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

26 Nov 2019, 10:38 AM
November 26, 2019 - The movement "Odupri Se" is set to hit the streets again, and the next gathering is likely on Saturday, December 7, said movement representative Nikola Grdinic. He explained the new protests required a reorganization of the Odupri Se movement, as well as an analysis of previous work, primarily because of the wrong moves that were made.
 
 "The protests must last. Everything that is happening on the political scene, as well as what lies ahead for us next year, will have a much more serious reach in terms of pressure on this arrogant government if we are mature to recognize the value of continuity of protest. The bottom line is that citizens need a guarantee that free elections will take place. No one guarantees it at this point. This authority has shown numerous times that she cannot be trusted and that she is ready for anything to survive. That is why, in the spring, we started a total boycott of all institutions, but we did not reach that goal. We are now in a situation of a partial boycott," Grdinic said.
 
As he pointed out, the Committee on Comprehensive Reform of Election and Other Legislation works in incomplete composition, as does the Parliament.
 
He sees the way out of many social problems only in the final unification of citizens on the street.
 
"It creates a counterweight to this government, and it is an announcement of control over those who will exercise power after the fall of the DPS. If the situation on the political scene happens to be used as an alibi for going to the polls next year, and these elections, in our estimation, are not sufficiently free, we will work to have protested on the election day and block the polls," Grdinic announced.
 
Asked how they view the announced protest of the Democratic Front, also in December, Nikola Grdinic said that they are looking forward to any rally aimed at overthrowing the regime.
 
"Within the idea of ​​Odupri Se, there is also a section that promotes protest at all levels as one way of civic activism to raise the political awareness of every citizen. Thus, only a growing number of local protests and initiatives by individuals targeting social issues and fighting for the public interest are thorough, argumentative, and courageous. In all these activities, we see blows to the system created by this government on bad values, as well as the hope that an alternative will be created to such a system, and we must all contribute together," the Odupri Se representative Nikola Grdinic concluded.
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