27 Oct 2020, 22:00 PM

Becic: Montenegro remains committed to the fundamental values of the united nations

October 27, 2020 - The President of the Parliament of Montenegro, Aleksa Bečić, met today with the heads of United Nations agencies resident in Montenegro - the acting UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Daniela Gašparikova, UNICEF Representative Juan Santander, Head of IOM’s Montenegro Office Dušica Živković, and Head of WHO’s Montenegro Office Mina Brajović.

Congratulating the United Nations on its 75th anniversary, Bečić emphasized that Montenegro remains committed to the fundamental values ​​of the UN, the affirmation of effective multilateralism, open cooperation and to the strengthening of partnerships with the UN. He added that he expressed his gratitude for the continuous support to Montenegro and the engagement of the entire UN system in the country in response to the consequences of the pandemic.

Concluding that the Assembly is expected to be a factor in the unification, cohesion and aligning of Montenegrin society, Bečić pointed out the openness of the national parliament to continuing cooperation dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Representatives of UN agencies informed Bečić of the key priorities in the upcoming period and expressed readiness to continue cooperation with the Parliament and the competent parliamentary working bodies through future initiatives.

Gašparikova wished the President of the Assembly a successful upcoming term of the new legislature.

"Parliament has a vital role to play in strengthening inclusive political dialogue, which ensures the preservation of dignity and respect for diversity of opinion. I believe that the parliament will carry out its role in shaping the future democratic reform processes in the country through the engagement of a wide range of governmental and non-governmental partners, dealing with issues of vulnerable groups to ensure that no one is left behind," Gašparikova said.




27 Oct 2020, 21:31 PM

Government approved for kotor: Jokic - Head of municipality, Vuksic to lead municipal assembly

October 27, 2020 - The Democrats, ZBK and URA are to form the new local government of Kotor with a combined majority of 17 councilors in the local parliament, which consists of 33 councilors.

Leaders of the electoral lists of the Democrats, the coalition "For the Future of Kotor" (ZBK) and the Civic Movement URA from Kotor, today signed the Principles of Joint Action and the Coalition Agreement on Joint Exercise of Local Government in the city.

According to these documents, the Democrats, ZBK and URA will form a new local government in Kotor, as these three groups have a majority of 17 councilors in the local parliament, which consists of 33 councilors.

In the local elections held on August 30, the Democrats won nine seats, the ZBS coalition seven, and the URA one seat.

In addition to the aforementioned, the new parliament of Kotor, which held a constitutive session on October 20 and verified the mandates of the newly elected councilors, includes 12 representatives of the DPS, and one councilor each from the SDP, SD and Socialists of Montenegro.

The negotiations between the three factions that will form the local government in Kotor have, over the last two months, occasionally fallen into crisis, but in the end a compromise was found that met the interests of all parties.

Therefore, tomorrow at the continuation of the constitutive session of the Municipal Assembly, the holder of the electoral list of the ZBS coalition, lawyer Dejan Vukšić, voted in by the newly-formed majority, will be appointed President of the Municipal Assembly of Kotor, and on Friday at the first regular session of the new Municipal Assembly, holder of the Democrat electoral list, Vladimir Jokić, will be appointed again as Mayor.

He returns to the position after a year and four months, as he was removed as Head of the Municipality by DPS, SD, HGI and LP councilors, joined by SDP councilor Bruna Lončarević, at a Council session held on July 8 last year.

The SDP previously removed the local Kotor government of the Democrats, DF, SDP and URA in April, and their councilor Lončarević voted for Jokić's removal for the first time with the previous opposition, gathered around the DPS.

The first decision on the removal of Jokić from April, was overturned very soon after by the Administrative Court.




19 Oct 2020, 13:55 PM

October 19, 2020 - Montenegro has welcomed this year’s European Commission report in a better mood. Not because the administration (or citizens) hoped for better grades as a result of hard work in the past year and a half, but because the country is waiting for a new government, the first without Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) in 30 years. All eyes are on this new government, which must take at least some important steps to speed up the country’s path towards EU membership. However, many challenges lie ahead for it, at least when it comes to what is stated in this year’s EC report, writes politologist Jovana Marović for the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group- BiEPAG.

The Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) is a cooperation initiative of the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) and Centre for the Southeast European Studies of the University of Graz (CSEES) with the aim to promote the European integration of the Western Balkans and the consolidation of democratic, open countries in the region. BiEPAG is composed of prominent policy researchers from the Western Balkans and wider Europe who have established themselves for their knowledge and understanding of the Western Balkans and the processes that shape the region.

The Commission’s assessment of the situation in the country is as expected. Montenegro has continued to make limited progress in most chapters, thus maintaining an average overall score, which is disappointing more than eight years after the opening of accession negotiations. This year has affected this attitude to such an extent that the crisis caused by the coronavirus has allowed the reforms to be put “on hold”. The negotiations themselves have been stuck for some time, despite the Commission’s new methodology presented in February, and regardless of the fact that Montenegro accepted it, even though it was not binding for the country. This is certainly a good sign, in the sense that it sends the message that Montenegro wants to negotiate under stricter conditions, but without a clear picture on either side of when this could bring significant results.

Many things are repeated in this report that also appeared in previous iterations, which on the one hand indicates a lack of progress, while on the other hand again raises the question of whether the Commission’s reports are a sufficient guide to candidate countries for reforms and whether this most visible mechanism should be even more concrete. In this report particular attention is paid to the general atmosphere and functioning of the system, as well as the situation in the country when it comes to polarisation, alongside the politicisation of institutions and the involvement of all actors in the democratic process, particularly in the parliament, and its role in democratisation. It is problematic that some scandals have been continuously mentioned in the report almost since the beginning of negotiations. The details of the DPS’ governing body session were published back in February 2013, revealing the party’s mechanisms of misuse of public resources for election purposes (known as “the audio recordings affair”), and this has found its place in every annual report of the Commission on Montenegro. In each report, the EU seeks “the political and judicial follow-up of the alleged misuse of public funds for party political purposes” to which the government is persistently turning a blind eye. The same goes for the many other scandals and abuses we have witnessed. This is mostly what any response to the Commission’s recommendations looks like in practice if it demands reactions and cuts that are in direct conflict with the party’s interests. This is also the first guideline of what should be done in the future for better results.

The Commission has maintained the practice of defining priorities for key areas, for example in the section relating to the fight against corruption, pointing out problems in the work of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption, the manner of conducting financial investigations and securing track records both in prevention and repression. In practice though, the institutions persistently respond only to some of the problems identified, while there is no link between the European Commission’s instruments and greater pressure to address and adequately respond to the burning issues. In this sense, the recommendations/priorities could be even more concrete and measurable. In principle, a clear task and an answer to it also give a basis for a stronger assessment of whether it has been fulfilled or not. In other words, this should be an important matter in the application of the new EU methodology – linking specific priorities with clearly-announced incentives and sanctions.

In short, this year’s European Commission report confirmed that Montenegro is a country with serious problems in the judiciary, the electoral system, and the functioning of the state system in general, with corruption at all levels. It is also strongly polarised as a society. Montenegro also continues to respond to these problems partially and superficially, which requires a stronger and more serious reaction from all actors in society. A more committed partner from Brussels is needed to turn things around and achieve better results.

Author: Jovana Marović

Jovana Marovic is Executive Director of the Politikon Network, a think tank based in Podgorica. She studied at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade where she received her doctorate. Between 2004-2016, Jovana worked as a Counselor for the European Union in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ multilateral department, Advisor for International Relations and European Integration within the Cabinet of the Budva Municipality’s Mayor, Research Coordinator at the Institute Alternative (think tank and scientific research institute) and Special Advisor to the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare. She is also engaged in lecturing. Jovana is a Member of the Working Group for Chapter 23, Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, within the Montenegrin Accession Negotiations for EU membership.

17 Oct 2020, 21:34 PM

October 17, 2020 - The defeat of the DPS at the national level seems to be less of a surprise than the epilogue of the local elections in Tivat. The peoples' decision to place their trust in the civil lists after 24 years of rule by the DPS and coalition partners is a kind of precedent on the Balkan political scene.

Called for at the beginning of April, local elections in Tivat were postponed due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The lack of interest from the parties at the national level in the situation in Tivat, where since 2016 the DPS had had absolute power and support of coalition partners - the Social Democrats and the Croatian Civic Initiative, prompted representatives of local parties, former opposition councilors, and members of the public to organize in the coalition list. "People Win" (NP) managed to win as many as 13 of the 32 seats in the Municipal Assembly of Tivat on August 30. The Boka Forum (BF) won two seats, and the Goran Božović list (GB) one. With the minority support of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) councilors, Tivat's new government majority has 17 seats.

DPS has nine councilors, and their traditional partners - SD and HGI - two each.

At the new parliament's constitutive session, held on September 23, the President of the Boka Forum, political scientist Doc. Dr. Andrija Petković was elected for the President of the Assembly. Yesterday, at the first working session, the new parliamentary council appointed Željko Komnenović, the People Wins list holder, as the President of the Municipality of Tivat.

Professor of Serbo-Croatian language and Yugoslav literature, journalist and publicist Zeljko Komnenovic (49), replaced the mayor, Dr. Sinisa Kusovac, relieved of his duties at the same session.

5259749 20201016 131159 ffFormer President of the Municipality, Dr. Siniša Kusovac, and the New Major of Tivat, Željko Komnenović, Photo by Siniša Luković

"I accept these duties with great seriousness, responsibility, and humility, above all towards the brave citizens of Tivat who showed great heart and determination in the elections on August 30 to take the fate of their city into their own hands. This is the beginning of a new era that we will create and trace together. The future must be the same for everyone, a future for our children, and a city of equal opportunities for all its citizens," said Komnenovic. "Tivat on August 30 voted against centralism, corruption, crime, nepotism, partitocracy, hopelessness and minority domination over the majority," said Komnenović, accepting the position of mayor.

"Although unexpected, you won an unprecedented victory and brought freedom to all of us. The biggest task is just beginning, and the coalition government of NP, BF, GB, and SDP will bring long-awaited justice to the citizens. We will conscientiously and responsibly manage the Municipality and the city's resources, take care of all our citizens and their interests. Our common goal is a rationalized and efficient local government that will solve citizens' problems and needs. In the further development of Tivat, we will try to use all the potential of our city, reduce bureaucracy, protect the rights of local people, and start more intensive cooperation between Boka cities. We will also ensure fair cooperation to investors who are implementing projects here," Komnenović pointed out, adding that the local government "should never again be enslaved to the interests of party headquarters, interest groups and captured institutions."

zeljko komnenovicNew Major of Tivat, Željko Komnenović, Photo by Siniša Luković

The new parliamentary majority previously proposed and adopted the decision on dismissing the President of the Municipality of Tivat, Dr. Siniša Kusovac. In the new parliament's long first working session, the new majority explained in detail that Kusovac did not ensure the implemention of the Strategic Development Plan of Tivat 2019-2023, whereby about thirty projects outlined in the document did not make it off the drawing board.

Kusovac also caused significant material damage to the city by signing an illegal contract to waiver 5.6 million euros of utilities to Porto Montenegro, "forgetting" almost two million euros of city money in the bankruptcy-affected Atlas Bank, and non-implementation of the court verdict in the "Dalmacijavino" affair, reads the proposal to dismiss the former mayor, Dr. Siniša Kusovac.

Dr. Andrija Petković, President of the Municipal Assembly of Tivat: We will restore the trust of citizens in institutions

Dr. Andrija Petković (BF), the new President of the Municipal Assembly of Tivat, says for Total Montenegro News that he will be 100 percent committed to the radical changes in that area that all three winning civic lists announced in their election programs.

andrija petkovicDr. Andrija Petković, Source: Municipality of Tivat

By education a political scientist, active in political and social life, Dr. Andrija Petković is a long-term journalist, who has been on several occasions professionally engaged in public relations in the state and local administration, as well as in the private sector. He worked as a lecturer at the Faculty of Mediterranean Studies, and in recent years as a sports editor and presenter at Radio Tivat. He has published six collections of poetry. In the previous convocation of the Municipal Assembly of Tivat, he performed the function of councilor.

TMN: For a long time, and especially over the last four years, the assembly hall was not a space for constructive discussion and agreement on issues of importance for the city, but a body for confirmation of decisions that were often made contrary to the interests of Tivat and its citizens. They have shown in the elections that they want changes. They are expecting them now. Do you think that it is the Assembly's responsibility to restore citizens' trust in local institutions as their service? If so, how do you intend to achieve this?

First of all, I must point out that it is a great honor for me to have the opportunity to perform such an important function, first of all, from the people from the Boka Forum and then from our coalition partners. Of course, the responsibility is, therefore, all the greater since we all need to be aware of what moment we are in. Two viruses have hit us - one is the current COVID19, to which the whole world has no answer. For the second virus, the citizens of Tivat found a solution on August 30, and that is the virus DPS-SD-HGI rule, which destroyed the municipal coffers. From one of the wealthiest municipalities in Montenegro, they have put us in a situation where we have to fill a significant budget hole, so much so in fact that it sometimes seems to be bottomless.

You are right- the parliament was often a place where decisions were made that were contrary to the interests of Tivat's residents, especially those of the local population. They helped the Podgorica bureaucracy and satisfied the interests of private investors. This statement also contains the answer to your questions on how to restore citizens' trust in the system's institutions. The citizen must recognize that the decisions made in the future result from professional planning to solve the problems that have accumulated. The outcome will be an improvement in the quality of life of all members of our community.

I think the Assembly is just a small screw in the whole thing, to call it a "complex." Admittedly - an essential screw, from which that trust begins. Reasonable dialogue, constructive discussions, offering different solutions for the situations in which we are, and finding ourselves, by ignoring to the extent possible party attitudes and differences, and eliminating all petty individual interests. From the porter to the President of the Municipality, everyone must make sure that the public has no doubt that we are here to work in their interests. They must be made to feel welcome in the town hall by the people they pay to do the job.

However, there must be a change in the opposite direction as well. We hope to attract higher quality and much broader participation of citizens in public debates. We expect them to bring proposals that will not have anything to do with vested interests. And perhaps most importantly - corruption starts not from the public office but from the citizen who brings the bribe. That is the most important thing to overcome.

andrija petkovic i dritan abazovicDr. Andrija Petković and Dr. Dritan Abazović, the President of the Civic Movement URA and the Leader of the Coalition list Black on White, Source: Boka News

TMN: Do you think that the previous government had good cooperation with investors, primarily Luštica Development and Adriatic Marinas? Representatives of all three winning lists often thematized the last local government's moves, which in their opinion, were not in line with the best interests of Tivat and its citizens. In your opinion, is there a need to legally analyze this cooperation?

It depends which angle you look at. If we mean satisfying the needs of foreign and domestic investors and realizing the interests of individuals from the parties that made up the government, then that cooperation was exceptional. And if you mean bringing benefits to the local population and progress to the city, then Tivat did not get anything or at most received many times less than what was offered. Somehow all these everyday, local interests were left aside. On the flip side, every, even the slightest desire of the companies, was treated as an order. There are numerous examples. I'm not just talking about irrigating a golf course or forgiving a debt of 5.6 million euros, nor just about the most significant projects. I am also talking about smaller investments and everyday omissions which, until their appearance in an accessible public space, and even down to the smallest detail, were branded with an iron lock. We will not allow that anymore. For the new government, both at the state and local levels, the task is to find and launch all legal instruments to act in that direction.

15 Oct 2020, 23:32 PM

October 15, 2020 - All political parties from the new majority have submitted proposals to Prime Minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic for some of the 18 ministries that they believe have they adequate staff to lead in the new Government, Dan writes.

According to the newspaper, there is a significant amount of overlap regarding preferences for departments between the parties, which means that Prime Minister-designate Krivokapic will have to make a final decision.

It is stated that the highest number of applications is for Deputy Prime Minister and for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of the Interior (MIA), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). There is no interest in several departments, namely the Ministry of Sports, the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, and the Ministry of Finance.

Earlier, there was an agreement with the Prime Minister-designate to personally take care of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Finance, i.e., to appoint experts to those positions.

As Dan reveals, the Democratic Front (DF) stated in a letter to Krivokapić that they are looking for the position of Deputy Prime Minister. They announced they have staff for leading roles in the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism. Also, they have expressed interest in the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Public Administration, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

However, one of the ten ministers from the ranks of the DF would also perform the function of vice president.

The proposal of Democratic Montenegro states that they have staff for leading positions in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and are looking for a Deputy Prime Minister position.

The Socialist People's Party (SNP) also suggested departments that their members could lead. And that one position of Deputy Prime Minister and four ministries, namely Agriculture and Rural Development, Labor and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry of Education.

The Movement for Change (PzP) is negotiating with the Prime Minister separately. They have asked for a function in the security sector, namely the Ministry of Defense, which would be accompanied by the position of Deputy Prime Minister, as well as for the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science, and Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism.

They also emphasized that these are their requirements only as far as the Government is concerned, and that they will seek positions of state secretaries and heads of various directorates.

The Civic Movement URA had stated earlier that they have staff to cover the positions of Minister of Defense and Minister of the Interior. Among their demands are the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Dan writes that URA also sought the position of Deputy Prime Minister.

Source: PCNEN

12 Oct 2020, 16:34 PM
October 12, 2020 - The President of the Supreme Court of Montenegro, Vesna Medenica, announced that she would resign from the position, RTCG, and Vijesti portals have learned unofficially.
Medenica was first elected President of the Supreme Court in 2007, having served before as Supreme State Prosecutor.
Medenica was re-elected President of the Supreme Court in 2014 and 2019.
In the Progress Report on Montenegro, the European Commission (EC) pointed out the judiciary's third mandate problems.
The EC has expressed concern over how the Constitution has been interpreted, allowing Medenica to be elected for the third time.
"Last year's recommendations regarding the judiciary were only partially addressed. In particular, challenges remain with regard to the independence, professionalism, efficiency, and accountability of the judiciary. The decision of the Judicial Council to re-appoint seven court presidents, including the President of the Supreme Court, for at least a third term raises serious concerns over the Judicial Council's interpretation of the letter and the spirit of the Constitutional and legal framework, which limits those appointments to a maximum of two terms in order to prevent over-concentration of power. This is not in line with GRECO recommendations on the independence of the judiciary, which Montenegro is expected to comply with, in order not to reverse earlier achievements in judicial reform," reads "Key findings of the 2020 Report on Montenegro, " published on October 6 by the European Commission.
The Supreme Court told Vijesti last week that it would follow the European Commission's recommendations, without specifying whether Medenica would resign from her position. They reiterated then that the President of the Supreme Court's resignation was her prerogative and that Medenica would keep any such decision to herself.
08 Oct 2020, 23:10 PM

October 8, 2020 - After consultations with the new parliamentary majority representatives, the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, sent a proposal to the Parliament of Montenegro for Zdravko Krivokapić to take on the task of forming the Government.

"Today, October 8, 2020, I held consultations on the prime minister-designate with the members of the coalition list: For the Future of Montenegro - Zdravko Krivokapic, Peace is Our Nation - Aleks Becic and Black on White - Dritan Abazovic. The outcome of these consultations was to propose Zdravko Krivokapić as the prime minister-designate, who will prepare a program and propose its composition within the deadline set by Montenegro's Constitution. The final decision will be taken before the 27th convocation of the Parliament of Montenegro at one of the upcoming meetings of the regular autumn session," reads the explanation made by Đukanović.

After consultations with Djukanovic, Krivokapic said that today was another day of victory for democracy. The leader of the coalition "For the Future of Montenegro" and the prime minister-designate for the new Government, Zdravko Krivokapic, wrote on Twitter:

"Aleksa Becic has just informed me that the President of Montenegro's proposal for the mandate-holder to propose the composition of the new Government has been submitted to the President of the Parliament. I am happy to inform you that I will prepare a program and propose the composition of the new Government of Montenegro, on which the 27th convocation of the Parliament of Montenegro will decide, "Krivokapić wrote.

"We will send the proposal for the new Government to the Assembly very soon. We have another obligation, and that is to look at the system of the entire administration and agree on the composition of the Government by November 8," Krivokapic said.

He sent an invitation to the Albanian list "Genci Nimanbegu - Nik Djelosaj" to participate in forming the new Government, Head of the list Nik Djelosaj confirmed to "Vijesti."

"At this moment, I feel a great pleasure in addressing you on behalf of the coalition" For the Future of Montenegro. " I confirm the readiness, expressed in the agreement on cooperation with the coalitions "Peace is our nation" and "Black on White," to cooperate with minority parties. In the hope of achieving our future collaboration, I would be grateful if you would suggest a date for our meeting," Krivokapic's invitation reads

Genci sees Nimanbeg's invitation as an opportunity to present his political views to the Prime Minister, supported by a very heterogeneous group of coalitions.

He congratulated Krivokapic on his mandate and said that he would acquaint him with his view of Montenegro's political situation, including the challenges that the future Government must address to improve democracy with particular reference to the rights of Albanians in Montenegro.

Today, after consultations with the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, Krivokapić said that he would send all national minority parties an invitation.

The nomination of the prime minister-designate has shown that the transition of power is going smoothly, despite the unjustified doubts of a proportion of the domestic and international public about possible obstructions, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic announced later today during talks with the head of the EU Delegation in Podgorica, Oana Cristina Popa.

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

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.
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.

23 Sep 2020, 22:15 PM

September 23, 2020 - Aleksa Becic, the coalition "Peace is our nation" leader, was elected today the new President of the Parliament of Montenegro, supported by 45 of 81 deputies. The positions within the new majority's coalition partners were harmonized, and a request was sent to the President of the state, Milo Đukanović, to appoint prof. Dr. Zdravko Krivokapic, leader of the coalition "For the Future of Montenegro," the new government's prime minister-designate.

The new Parliament's first session was chaired by the oldest member of the new convocation, Miodrag Lekic, and assisted by the youngest, Maksim Vucinic. Some members of the Democratic Front did not attend the intonation of the national anthem of Montenegro.

At the beginning of the first New Assembly session, the Democratic Front announced support to the Civic Movement URA's proposals. Aleksa Becic to be a candidate for President of the Assembly, and Dr. Zdravko Krivokapic for the position of prime minister-designate, about which they were at least undefined at the yesterdays meeting in the Ostrog Monastery.

"All election activities were conducted following the law. I thank everyone who participated in that. Representatives of international organizations monitored the elections and did not identify major irregularities. There were 35 accredited media," said the President of the State Election Commission Aleksa at the beginning of the session. Ivanovic, after which the mandates of 81 deputies were verified.

The Social Democrats and the Bosniak Party won three seats each, the SDP two, the Black and White four mandates. The Albanian Coalition unanimously one seat, the DPS 30, the For the Future of Montenegro coalition 27, the Albanian List one, and the "Peace is Our Nation" coalition ten.

Forty-five deputies from the coalitions "For the Future of Montenegro," "Peace is our nation," "Black on White," the Bosniak Party (BS), and Nik Djelosaj from the Albanian list voted for the election of Becic. Liberal Party MP Andrija Popovic was against, and MPs from the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), Social Democrats (SD), Social Democratic Party MP Draginja Vuksanovic Stankovic, and Albanian coalition "Unanimously" member Fatmir Djeka abstained.

The President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, who did not attend the first session of the Parliament in which DPS deputies sit in opposition benches for the first time, was sent a request today with the signatures of 41 deputies of the new parliamentary majority to appoint prof. Dr. Zdravko Krivokapić, the government's prime minister-designate.

The new President of the Montenegrin Parliament - Aleksa Becic

The holder of the parliamentary list of the coalition "Peace is our nation," Aleksa Becic is the President of Democratic Montenegro, whose deputies boycotted the Montenegrin Parliament after the 2016 elections, demanding changes to the election law and other conditions for the democratization of the election process.

Aleksa Becic started his political career in the Socialist People's Party. He resigned with his supporters in 2015, initiating the Democrats' establishment, of which he has been President since the beginning.

The new President of the Parliament of Montenegro was born in Cetinje on August 4, 1987. After primary and secondary school in Podgorica, he graduated from the Faculty of Economics in July 2010. He received his master's degree from the same faculty in March 2014, majoring in Accounting and Auditing.

In his first address after he is appointed President of the Parliament of Montenegro, Aleksa Becic said that he would "perform his duty according to the Constitution and the law, honestly, responsibly and conscientiously."

He also pointed out that it is an indescribable part and privilege to be elected President of the highest legislative and representative house, and at the same time, to be the first elected public official after the first democratic change of government in Montenegrin history.

"Gratitude for the election to colleagues from coalitions. Special gratitude to colleagues from minority parties, the Bosniak Party and the Albanian Electoral List, for their support and trust. Those who did not vote for me should know that I will fight for them even more. I will not attack, criticize, or declare them opponents of the state. I want the opposition to have a better status than we had," Becic said.

He added that without a quality opposition, there is no parliamentary democracy, saying that his main goal will be to strengthen the Parliament's control role.

"Parliament is the roof of Montenegro, and no one should endanger it. The argument in Parliament will be replaced by tolerance and dialogue. We must respect each other even when we disagree and look to the future."
Becic added that Montenegro must win the war on organized crime.
"Parliament must also strive to reform the electoral legislation so that Montenegro enters the election game in which everyone starts from scratch, and so that every next game would be a true celebration of democracy."

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