22 Feb 2019, 12:43 PM

At a press conference with the European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and enlargement negotiations Johannes Hahn, the Prime Minister Dusko Markovic said that the initiative for forming a technical government is an unjustified and politically unacceptable demand.

Markovic said that the government was working in full capacity, that there is no political crisis and the opposition's request for the formation of a technical government was considered legitimate, but not realistic.

"Everybody on the political scene has the right to make political demands in the way they think it is the most appropriate in their interests. For me, this request is unjustified and politically unacceptable. We have more important issues to deal with, Montenegro must realize its goals, accelerate economic growth, and create new jobs," Markovic said.

He believes that this political request is not real and that the government can perform its function as long as it has support in the Parliament. Markovic said that the boycott was legitimate, but not pro-active and that the institutions are the place to resolve the issue. In his words, moving to the streets is legitimate, and this is a model that is applied in the region as well.

"This is obviously a new opposition model, and we have nothing against it, it is important for us that the institutions are operational. The government is working at full capacity," Markovic said and suggested the opposition to choose its way of acting. All this, he says, is monitored by the government.

"To give in to such demands is not realistic," Markovic said, adding that it is better for everyone to return to their jobs in the Working Group, which is supported by the EU as well.

"My invitation is to go in that direction, and I'm not an optimist. Basically, there is no reason for dramatization," Markovic said. "We have political tension, dissatisfaction, demands, but not a crisis," said Markovic.

Hahn said he is aware that the opposition in Montenegro is dealing with all that was happening in northern Macedonia.

"It is up to each country to deal with specific solutions," Hahn said, adding that he did not see the need for the EU to participate.

"Everyone has the right to an individual assessment of the situation. Everyone should be free to make their own assessment," Hahn said.

The European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and enlargement negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said that Montenegro "has a clear perspective towards the EU".

"Boycott of the Parliament is not a European way to solve the problem," Hahn said. He added that the debate must take place in the Parliament.

The commissioner said that the protest organizers contacted him to meet. He explained that this was not possible due to the departure and that he asked the head of the European Union Delegation to Montenegro, Aiva Orava, to meet with them on his behalf.

Hahn said that he was monitoring the situation in the area of media freedom.

"I am worried about the pressure on the Public Broadcaster, the attacks on journalists, and the cyber-attacks," Hahn said.

Answering the question of whether there are double criteria in the media attacks, Hahn said that "everyone has responsibility," and that everyone should refrain from the attack.

"I am talking about physical attacks, if we are talking about a political debate, it's something that we all have to accept, and I expect respect among the parties and institutions involved. I think you can exchange views in one way or another. What I want is to establish communication, even if you have different views. More mutual respect is needed," Hahn said.

Text by Total MNE News, Source Vijesti, on February 23rd, 2019

21 Feb 2019, 22:31 PM

21 February 2019 - Prime Minister Duško Marković said today in Podgorica while opening the Ministerial meeting on the transition of the Western Balkan countries to clean energy, that the region's energy fully shares the basic characteristics of a single European energy, that Montenegro will even exceed the ambitious plan for the share of renewable energy sources, and that there is no giving up on ecological Montenegro.

"The issue of economic development is inseparable from the development of energy, and energy, as a strategic branch, implies a well-thought-out and long-term plan. Fortunately, the countries of the Western Balkans have a global leader as their partner in this crucial business. For decades, the European Union has set standards for sustainable development and clean, climate-neutral energy. In that sense, today's job, of the honourable ministers, is essentially facilitated. The unequivocal commitment of the countries of the region to European integration is an important determinant of long-term national energy policies and strategies. Montenegro does not have doubts here. Although extremely small, our energy system shares the basic characteristics of unique European energy. Import dependence, the challenges of environmental protection, improving energy efficiency, energy receptivity and energy for our citizens and the economy, are the issues that this and every other responsible government in the European Union tackle," the Prime Minister said.

Minister Duško Marković said that Montenegro's path is clear, adding that one of the largest solar power plants in Europe will be built in the country,

"Montenegro is already certain to reach and exceed the ambitious national goal for the share of renewable energy in final consumption by 2020. We pay a high price for this, but we remain confident that the validity of this bold commitment will be confirmed in the medium term. Initial failures should not lead us to a dilemma of whether to give up on the essentially noble idea. We will not give up on ecological Montenegro. But this also implies correction of omissions and permanent improvement of applied models," the Prime Minister stressed.

Ministerial Meeting on the Transition of the Western Balkan in Montenegro

The Prime Minister of Montenegro said that it is no coincidence that the roots of regional cooperation and modern Europe date back to coal and steel.

"Not even in 1951, energy and industry issues were not discussed in isolated national frameworks. And today, in the light of the clear need for decarbonisation and energy transition, the technical need for integration of the continent is greater than ever. The countries of the Western Balkans, when they were not there at the time of full expansion of coal as a fuel, should not miss the opportunity to be part of a society that will leave it first," the Prime Minister concluded.

European Commission for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn also spoke at the opening of the conference.

21 Feb 2019, 22:16 PM

19 February 2019 - Minister of the Interior Mevludin Nuhodžić met with his Turkish counterpart Süleyman Soylu in Ankara, Turkey. It was assessed that the meeting is a confirmation of the high-quality bilateral relations and friendship between the two countries.

Minister Nuhodžić stressed that the successful fight against all forms of crime requires intensive and continuous cooperation and information exchange.

"Our task is to send a message, through joint actions of the Montenegrin and Turkish police, that every criminal, every fugitive from justice, knows that they will not be able to find safe haven in either Montenegro or Turkey," said Minister Nuhodžić.

Expressing satisfaction with the cooperation and friendly relations between the two countries, Minister Nuhodžić thanked Turkey for the assistance it provides in the area of specialist training and education of Montenegrin police officers. He expressed confidence that the meeting will be an additional incentive for further strengthening of cooperation between the ministries of the interior of Montenegro and Turkey.

Minister Soylu said that the meeting agreed on the improvement of cooperation between the two ministries in the field of police affairs and expressed gratitude to Montenegro for its support in the fight against illegal migration, smuggling, organised crime and terrorism.

"This meeting is a crown of good cooperation and friendship between the Republic of Turkey and Montenegro. Montenegro's NATO membership is extremely important and, therefore, the intention of our two ministries is to further improve cooperation and jointly confront the common forces with all security challenges and threats," the Turkish Minister stressed.

"Stability and further development of the countries of the Western Balkans is very important for Turkey. We see Montenegro as an example of a multi-ethnic and multireligious harmony, bearing in mind that members of different faiths and nations live in Montenegro," he noted, adding that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to visit Montenegro in the near future.

Following the meeting, the two interior ministers signed an agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in emergency situations. "This agreement is a confirmation of mutual readiness for solidarity and cooperation between our two friendly states," Minister Nuhodžić said.

20 Feb 2019, 19:01 PM

February 20, 2019 - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development today announced five public invitations to grant non-refundable support to the development of marine fisheries, sea aquaculture, and freshwater aquaculture.

The Ministry has announced three public calls for marine fisheries - for support for the modernization of a professional fishing fleet for catching demersal resources, for the modernization of a professional fishing fleet for pelagic resources and a call for the modernization of a professional fishing fleet in small fishing for vessels up to 10 meters. Also, the Ministry has also announced public calls to improve the competitiveness and efficiency of the sea aquaculture sector as well as freshwater aquaculture.
Professional fishers at sea can receive non-refundable support of up to 50 percent of eligible investments for the reconstruction and equip of fishing facilities, the replacement of power generators, procurement of fishing and navigation equipment, and fish storage equipment to raise food safety standards. In addition to these eligible investments, fishers in small coastal fishing can also acquire vessel support, following specified criteria prescribed by the public call.
This measure enables our fishermen to have better safety and security at sea, as well as better fish catch efficiency.
The amount of support through public calls for catching pelagic and demersal resources is up to 50% of the total value of the invoices submitted, up to €10,000 per vessel, and for small coastal fishing up to €5,000 per ship. Maximum support through public calls for sea aquaculture and freshwater aquaculture is up to €7,000.
Through two public calls for granting support to improve the competitiveness and efficiency of the sea aquaculture and freshwater aquaculture sector, the Ministry will support by up to 50 percent of the investment. Breeders can reconstruct farms, build or reconstruct food storage facilities and equipment, purchase equipment for automation of the breeding process as well as equipment to improve hygiene in terms of food safety and marketing of products for the market. Investments in network procurement and the introduction of new technologies are also supported to protect the predator farms.
With the aim of intensifying the development of the fisheries sector,  by the Agro Budget for 2019 to support this sector the Ministry provided 1.5 million euros, an increase of 49% over last year. In the area of marine fisheries and sea aquaculture, support follows the Strategy of the Fisheries of Montenegro and the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy of the EU.
In addition to the support that will be implemented through these public calls, a particular impetus for the development of marine fisheries will be the realization of the MIDAS II project with the emphasis on improving the land infrastructure for fishermen, such as procurement and installation of equipment for the first landing and construction of fishing ports, says the Ministry.
20 Feb 2019, 16:28 PM

February 20, 2019 - The Center for Civic Education (CCE) today announced that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ASK) should check where the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic has money to cover the debt to Atlas Bank.

This NGO reported that they have today sent ASK the Initiative to launch the Inspection Process from the Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic's Revenue and Property Report.
"The Montenegrin public is acquainted by Dusko Knezevic, a businessman claimed by Montenegrin investigative organs, that President Djukanovic had a debt on a card at Atlas Bank. In Djukanovic's announcement, which he issued as President of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) on 23 January 2019 among other things, states: 'I am already in contact with a bank where I check the credibility of the debt information and ask for instructions on how to make this commitment if it stands.' After that, the public is informed by the Atlas Group that Djukanovic returned the debt of EUR 16,358.00 on 30 January 2019, which he confirmed in the issue of 'Ukrstene Rijeci' broadcast on the TV Prva on 14 February 2019," the CCE said.
The statement adds that the Anti-Corruption Law prescribes ASK's obligation to review data from public service reports by comparing this data with the collected information on the assets and revenues of the public official from the authorities and legal entities that have access to such data.
"By comparing data from the last three reports submitted by Milo Djukanovic to ASK, these publicly available data reveal contradictions, namely that Djukanovic did not report any debts or savings as well. Also, it is not possible to ascertain from the reported revenues of Djukanovic and his wife that they had at one time 16,358.86 euros to pay the debt to Atlas Bank because their official income was limited. From this, we conclude that Milo Djukanovic's reports do not contain accurate and complete information in this section, according to the Anti-Corruption Law, and it is necessary that ASK verifies these reports and determined by this and any other irregularities in the same and consequently undertaking the acts prescribed by law," said the CCE.
This NGO stated that he wanted to believe that in the annual plan of ASK, to review the data from the income statement and public officials' assets, Djukanovic's report was also planned. They want to believe that the Agency will, ex officio, and not only by this or other initiatives, initiate a misdemeanor procedure for failure to report accurate and complete data in the revenue and property records of the officials.
"The CCE hopes that ASK will urgently process this Initiative, bearing in mind the function that Djukanovic is doing and the public's interest for ASK to make its stand on the allegations," the statement concludes.
20 Feb 2019, 15:49 PM

20 February 2019 - Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković has asked the Public Works Directorate to terminate the contract on the construction of a kindergarten in Bar and to arrange the existing location by planting 90 cypresses.

Marković emphasized that at the moment of the discussion about the allocation of financial resources, the municipality has already had a defined location through a valid detailed urban plan, which did not include any objections from any party for its purpose during the public hearing. He added that it was only at the stage of preparation of the site for the commencement of works that an initiative to ban work had appeared which later resulted in civil protests.

"We believed that emotions were not above the need to invest in the future, and as a responsible Government, we wanted the best conditions for children in Bar. We were convinced that, when we are working in the interests of the generations to come in Montenegro, there can be no differences or politics involved," the Prime Minister said.

He announced that he was sorry that a number of citizens of Bar did not recognize the intention to ensure a better quality of their children and grandchildren.

"On the contrary, civil resistance to the project has grown into a political platform that has not been barred by the protests’ organisers. However, this Government will not work against the will of citizens, and especially we will not build kindergartens with police cordons. We will draw the lesson from this situation, which is that sometimes the commitment to build a kindergarten at a planned location is not a guarantee that the citizens want it," Marković emphasized.

He said that the Ministry of Education, in cooperation with the creditor, will redirect the amount of two and a half million euros for the construction of facilities for the same purpose in another city, where the Government already has all the necessary documentation and the agreement on the common interest exists.

Marković pointed out that the selection of a new location in Bar requires complex and long procedures, so he asked the citizens for patience while creating planning, project and other conditions for the construction of a new kindergarten.

"The Bar Municipality has a very pronounced problem of lack of space in preschool institutions. In two school years, the number of children in kindergartens increased by 50 percent. Namely, in the school year 2015/2016, 940 children were enrolled in Bar, and this school year there is already 1,391 children, "the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister recalled that recognizing the problem of insufficient spatial capacities in preschool institutions in Montenegro, the previous Government with the Council of Europe Development Bank signed in December 2013 a credit arrangement worth 10 million EUR for the construction of seven kindergartens. The total value of the projects with the participation of the state is 17 million EUR.

Source: TVCG

19 Feb 2019, 23:38 PM

18 February 2019 - "Small countries like Montenegro and North Macedonia must act smartly since we do not have many resources and we must use the best we have. I think that is the whole logic of the Alliance. We cannot all be specialized in all issues but we can have advantages in some of them and offer them to our allies," said Minister of Defense of North Macedonia, Radmila Šekerinska, during the NATO summit held in Brussels last week.

In the conversation with Montenegrin journalists, Šekerinska said that during the entire negotiation process with NATO, official Skopje had the great support of Montenegro.

“When we got the new Government in 2017, several days later Montenegro entered the Alliance and I was invited to deliver a speech at the ceremony in Skopje organized by the Montenegrin Embassy. I said then, and I still think so, that Montenegro serves us as an inspiration and that even in the hardest of circumstances, one should think about the strategic objective. You have been through a very difficult political period, and we have even been through the violence and very deep political crisis. Despite everything, we managed to unite our state,” said Šekerinska.

She points out that her department has had very intense cooperation with the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense. They used our experience as an example. She states that the Macedonian transition will not be easy.

“Resources are required, people are necessary, we must act fast. We have been working a lot with my Montenegrin counterpart and did so many projects of bilateral cooperation and transformation of armed forces,” said Šekerinska.

Asked if North Macedonia is faced with strong Russian pressure, just like Montenegro, she said that there had been several statements made by official Moscow related to Macedonian NATO accession being an act against Russia.

“We want to be on good terms with Russia too, but our strategic objective has been defined since 1993. EU and NATO membership is our goal. We don't agree with those saying that North Macedonian NATO membership means NATO expansion towards the east. We decide about our own future but we want good relations with everyone,” concluded Šekerinska.

Source: Cafe del Montenegro

19 Feb 2019, 23:34 PM

18 February 2019 - Bulgaria is willing to help Montenegro accelerate progress on the path towards the European Union in order to achieve its ambitions and become the next full member, Prime Minister Duško Marković and newly-appointed Bulgarian Ambassador Maglena Plugchieva concluded at the meeting that took place in Podgorica.

Montenegro's achievements on the road to the European Union have been assessed as positive, and Prime Minister Marković emphasised that it will continue to work hard to fulfill the European Union agenda regardless of the forthcoming European elections and other challenges the Union faces.

"During its presidency of the European Union, Bulgaria did a lot for Montenegro and the entire Western Balkans. The region has become visible in the European Union," said PM Marković.

He emphasised that excellent bilateral relations should be enriched by stronger economic cooperation and in that context, stressed Montenegro's interest in improving relations in the fields of infrastructure, energy and tourism.

The two officials underscored the need for establishing an airline between Montenegro and Bulgaria. In that context, Prime Minister Marković also pointed out the Government's commitment to the airport's valorisation.

The Ambassador of Bulgaria highlighted the support of her country for the project of establishing the Institute for Sustainable Technologies according to the CERN model. It was noted that the Institute would be of great importance for the entire region of Southeast Europe.

19 Feb 2019, 14:53 PM

19 February 2019 - Improving private sector competitiveness, energy and infrastructure integration, as well as greening the economy and sustainable tourism are three priority areas in which the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) wants to help Montenegro, Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković and First EBRD Vice-President Jürgen Rigterink agreed at the official meeting in Podgorica.

Prime Minister Marković pointed out that the priorities of the State have been recognised by the EBRD as well, which allows for a further productive partnership. He added that Montenegro has successfully pursued economic policy in the past two years, achieved dynamic economic growth, stabilised public finances and reduced the unemployment rate. He stressed the reduction in the budget deficit, as well as the good income-generating side, both in the previous and this year.

EBRD to Assist Montenegro in Improving Green Economy and Sustainable Tourism 1

"EBRD support for around 60 projects totalling to approximately 570 million EUR is of great importance to us. Your support and confidence contributed to such economic results," said PM Marković.

He added that the continuation of strengthening the overall infrastructure, construction of the motorway, airports and ports valorisation, as well as further activities towards strengthening competitiveness and creating a favourable business environment, strengthening of small and medium enterprises and professionalization of administration is of strategic significance for Montenegro.

"The EBRD will stand by you to support you," Vice President Rigterink noted and praised the results in the field of economic policy, stressing that the international market reactions are the best indicators of the progress, referring in particular to the successful issuance of Eurobonds by Montenegro last year.

Both sides highlighted the success in the European integration process, which creates an incentive for achieving further results in opening up the remaining and creating conditions for starting the closing of negotiation chapters.

18 Feb 2019, 21:55 PM

16 February 2019 - At a session dedicated to NATO missions and operations, Defense Minister Predrag Bošković recalled that Montenegro, aware of the importance of designing stability and strengthening security beyond the borders of NATO, continues to give an active contribution to the preservation of global peace and security by sending its members to international missions and operations. 

The Allies agreed that NATO would continue to provide a decisive answer when it comes to the fight against terrorism, with a comprehensive approach that requires the engagement of the entire international community. It was emphasised that in the forthcoming period the work on building capacity and enhancement of cooperation with partners in order to combat these threats, thus strengthening the overall security of NATO, will be continued. 

Bearing in mind the unpredictable security environment, as well as the commitment of the Alliance to protect the territories and population of its members, the importance of preventive action on potential challenges from the territory outside the borders of NATO has been highlighted. In the context of possible threats that can come from different strategic directions, further activities were considered to be carried out to strengthen the NATO presence at the eastern borders, as well as the implementation of measures from the Framework for the South representing the Alliance's reaction to the challenges arising from the Mediterranean. 

Evident progress was noted in terms of cooperation between NATO and the European Union, which will remain an important partner of the Alliance in the following period. Furthermore, it was emphasised that the interconnection of international actors contributes to a more effective response to security challenges. 

Minister Bošković stressed the importance of intensifying NATO and EU co-operation, in order to facilitate the effective functioning of the two organizations, taking into account the mutual complementarity and the development of defense capacities in order to strengthen European defense. 

He also met with the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Slovenia, Karl Erjavec.

The conversation was dedicated to continuing political dialogue and strengthening bilateral and regional cooperation in the defense and security sphere. Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the intensive cooperation that is being constantly enhanced through the exchange of experience, skills and knowledge in the area of defense and security within regional initiatives, in particular through joint participation in military exercises and in international missions and operations. Bošković and Erjavec pointed to the importance of joining the Western Balkan countries to the Alliance as a guarantee of peace and stability in this part of Europe. The interlocutors also emphasised the importance of the "open door" policy, and discussed the continuation of cooperation in the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP), in Latvia, as well as in the field of aviation and cooperation between the two navies.

18 Feb 2019, 12:31 PM

February 18, 2019 - The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism sent a warning to the Secretariat for Spatial Planning and Construction of the Municipality of Herceg Novi last week, because the Sea Property did not get the Municipality to respond to several requests for urban-technical conditions within the legal deadline. For this reason, they asked for the issuance of urban-technical conditions from the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism.

In a document signed by Minister Pavle Radulovic, the Ministry “ordered” the Secretariat to resolve the requests as soon as possible and within 20 days from the date of receipt of the document, 11 February, and inform the Ministry thereof.
Namely, Sea Property asked the Secretariat to issue urban technical conditions for 11 locations to set or reconstruct the coastal infrastructure in Sutorina, Topla, Savina, Bijela, and the building of the promenade from Bijela to Kamenari.
For some of the Sea Property projects, it had asked for conditions in August, September, and December last year. In the letter to the Ministry, the Sea Property said that they did not receive answers within the "legal deadline." Among others, they are "waiting" for technical conditions for the reconstruction of the existing bathing area at Zager, and the requirements for the construction of a sidewalk from Kamenari to Bijela in the length of 1300 m.
Secretary of the Secretariat for Spatial Planning and Construction Marina Sekulic said Radio Jadran that issuing technical conditions for drafting the conceptual solution for the Zager spa reconstruction, explaining why there was a "deadlock in administration":
"The Sea Property was informed to ask for new urban-technical conditions for the restoration of the facility because based on the previous ones, issued in 2015, the technical documentation and the issued building permit have already been made. Only after obtaining new urban-technical conditions for the preparation of technical documentation for the reconstruction of the facility or bathing grounds, it is possible to make a preliminary solution submitted to the consent of the chief city architects, based on the Law on planning and the construction of the facilities. Subject to the legal provisions, the Secretariat has rejected the claim of the Sea Property as unfounded. The Sea Property has submitted a new request for issuing urban-technical conditions for the development of technical documentation for the reconstruction of the existing object - the Zager bathing resort in Bijela, based on the Spatial Plan of Special Purpose for the Coastal Area of Montenegro and the urban project for the hotel complex Zager in Bijela. After collecting all the necessary technical conditions, we will be able to issue the required urban- technical terms for this reconstruction and only after that the investor can access the design solution that will be submitted to the consent of the city's architects," Sekulic said, not mentioning when they will issue the technical conditions.
"When it comes to the construction of a sidewalk from Bijela to Kamenari, the Secretariat has issued the required conditions and submitted it to the Applicant, the Sea Property. And in this case, just after the issuance of urban- technical terms, the requirements for the creation of the Idea Solution will be obtained and submitted to the consent of the chief city architects according to the legal provisions," explained Sekulic.
Source: Radio Jadran
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