19 November 2018 - On 19 November 2018, the 15th Jubilee Vienna Economic Forum – Vienna Future Dialogue 2018 under the motto "Economy meets Politics" took place under the Patronage of H.E. Mr. Sebastian Kurz, Federal Chancellor of Austria, and an official event of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković spoke during the panel in Vienna, explaining that Montenegro has ambitious plans during Austrian presidency of the Council of the European Union, and these ambitions are based on assessments from the latest EC document.
"As you are aware, Montenegro has the ambition to make progress during the Austrian presidency. We base our optimism on the assessment from the latest EC's document on the rule of law that shows a balanced and thus realistic image of the efforts that Montenegro continuously invests in the implementation of reforms within the negotiation process. I am convinced that Austria and the countries of the European Union will objectively assess our results," Prime Minister Marković said at the Vienna Economic Forum. He also took part in meetings with the Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and EU commissioners Johannes Hahn and Mariya Gabriel.
The Prime Minister thanked Chancellor Kurz and the EU commissioners for the positive and inspiring meetings. He was pleased that he discussed the continuation of important discussions for the region with Commissioner Hahn and Commissioner Gabriel. It was important for Montenegrin representatives to hear Austria's plans during its presidency, but also to present the country’s plans and ambitions.
The host, Federal Chancellor Kurz, told at the press conference that Austria, during its presidency of the Council of the European Union, will focus on three areas: the region's path towards the European Union, the necessary regional cooperation and the resolution of bilateral disputes in the region. Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn emphasised that all Western Balkan countries have a European perspective, although it is not realistic that they all join the Union at the same time.
Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel told Western Balkan leaders that they can count on the EU support and that the EC will continue to invest in talented people in the region. "Digital agenda for the Western Balkans is our objective. It is up to us to continue this process," Commissioner Gabriel noted during the economic forum in Vienna.
The prime ministers of the six Western Balkan countries assessed as particularly important the fact that Austria insists on the enlargement agenda.
Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić thanked the host, Chancellor Kurz, for working on the more integrated region and keeping the EU's policy of enlargement on the European agenda. "Serbia is strongly committed to the EU agenda. On the regional level, the connectivity agenda is a priority for Serbia," Prime Minister Brnabić said.
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Denis Zvizdić said that strengthening of the cooperation with the EU contributes to the further development of the Western Balkans. He especially emphasised the importance of the fact that the EU's door remains open.
Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama said that the region is facing challenges of the cooperation, while Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj said that his country has fulfilled all conditions for visa liberalization, including the last condition – border demarcation with Montenegro.
18 November 2018 - Montenegro must not slow down its progress on its road to the European Union and it should be focused primarily on closing the chapters. It would be desirable to open Chapter 27 during Austria’s European Union presidency and for the country to complete the Action Plan for Chapters 23 and 24, as noted by the Ambassador of Slovenia to Montenegro, Mitja Močnik. He also said Montenegro has been an example of good practice to other countries of Balkans region.
Slovenia and Montenegro cherish good relations and based on the positive experience and practice in project implementation, Slovenia perceives Montenegro as a priority programme for European Union integration in the region.
“The two states have been implementing a programme-based bilateral development cooperation, mostly for a two-year period of time. The 2018-19 programme is going to be signed on November 23, 2018. The total value of the project amounts to 1,848,949 EUR. Development projects usually refer to the less developed North Montenegro. Slovenia has been offering assistance to Montenegro for this year as well, also through a technical assistance, funded by the European Union’s instrument for pre-accession assistance. Our experts are mostly engaged in Montenegro when compared with other countries of the region,” noted Ambassador of Slovenia to Montenegro Mitja Močnik.
According to him, Montenegro should focus on closing the negotiation chapters, but also added that Montenegro represents a source of stability in the region.
“Some European Union member states are not inclined to speedy opening/closing of the chapters, which does not mean they oppose the enlargement process. Montenegro is a leader in negotiation talks, having in mind dynamics and the number of opened chapters. We must beware of the fact Montenegro restored the independence in 2006 and that it is extremely significant to achieve genuine progress in strengthening macroeconomic, fiscal and tax stability,” Močnik concluded.
17 November 2018 - At the annual meeting of the ministers of agriculture of South-Eastern Europe held in Macedonia, deputy prime minister and minister of agriculture and rural development in the Government of Montenegro, Milutin Simović, said that the stability in the Balkans represents a fundamental principle for any further progress of the Balkan countries.
According to him, the Balkans should be perceived not as a problem or a hurdle, but as a chance and as a new energy, especially when it comes to connecting, freedom of movement and goods, capital and people, energy, agriculture, human resources, new transport routes, and logistics centers. The Balkan countries need to use their joint forces and prove they can be the heartbeat of the European Union.
"We must act decisively on our road to the European and Euro-Atlantic integrations, as well as in meeting the requirements. There is no way back, we must succeed. We have achieved and invested a lot, but we need to be even more resolute and courageous because soon we are to face some key challenges,” noted Deputy Prime Minister Milutin Simović.
Speaking about agriculture as a complex sector vulnerable to instability, Minister Simović said that it is necessary to work together towards raising competitiveness in this area, aligning agricultural policies with common European agricultural policy and strengthening capacities for withdrawing generous European pre-accession funds. He also called for a genuine commitment to the implementation of the CEFTA free trade agreement.
The meeting in Macedonia was organized by the Permanent Working Group for Regional Rural Development in Southeast Europe, and hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of Macedonia.
On the sidelines of the ministerial meeting, an agreement on cooperation in the field of agriculture and rural development between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina will be signed.
17 November 2018 - The European perspective of the Western Balkans now is much better than it used to be, said the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz. Kurz also emphasized that Montenegro’s frontrunner status in the EU accession process has been unquestionable and if “it keeps progressing so fast”, 2025 might be a feasible accession date.
“From the beginning of this year, we have intensified our cooperation with the region. The EU-Western Balkans Summit held in Sofia, conclusions of the Council for enlargement of July as well as the London Berlin Process Summit in July sent a clear political message – the EU has been the commitment towards the enlargement. I am deeply convinced that the EU can not be complete unless the Western Balkan countries join it,” concluded Kurz, expressing the importance of Montenegro as a frontrunner in the Western Balkans region.
As for the possible delays of the EU enlargement, Kurz pointed out that it is very important for the countries of the region to focus on required reforms and good neighborly relations, that need to be further upgraded.
During the Europe-Forum Wachau which took place in June this year, Chancellor Kurz concluded that Austria will support integration plans of Montenegro, keeping in mind that the Western Balkans are among the priorities of the Austrian presidency. He also added that the Austrian government is encouraging Montenegro to open two new chapters during the following period because they think that such a step is well deserved.
Read more about Montenegro's involvement in Europe-Forum Wachau here.
16 November 2018 - Prime Minister Duško Marković met with the delegation of the municipality of Pljevlja led by the President of the Municipality Mirko Đačić. At the meeting, it was noted that successful consolidation of public finances and establishment of financial stability in Pljevlja enables the Government of Montenegro and the local leadership to devote more to strengthening the road and energy infrastructure in the municipality.
The Prime Minister congratulated the upcoming Municipal Day to citizens and local leadership and expressed satisfaction with the results achieved in Pljevlja. He pointed out that additional efforts in the area of public finances have to be made, and he announced new support which can be expected through the new Law on Financing of Local Self-government.
Đačić praised the stable work of the economy in the municipality. He mentioned projects in the field of road infrastructure that will ensure a better life for citizens of Pljevlja and added that soon they can expect the wastewater treatment plant to be put into trial work.
Expressing personal interest in the city's toplification, Prime Minister Marković emphasized that problems are solved and that the project would go in the right direction. Đačić informed that contracted works for the first phase amounted to 3.56 million euros, while four million are needed for the second phase of toplification.
Special attention was given to the sector of energy and wood processing through new development chains that will give a new impetus to the economy, where they see a good chance for small and medium enterprises. The area of agriculture is particularly praised, with a strong support from the Ministry of Agriculture. The Prime Minister also noted the fact that in the second quarter there was a growth of 8.8 percent in agricultural production in Montenegro.
The meeting was also attended by Vice President of the Municipality Anela Krištostorac and the President of the Municipal Assembly Dragiša Sokić, who expressed the intention of the local parliament to adopt regulations that will reduce business barriers for small and medium enterprises.
16 November 2018 - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Montenegro Milutin Simović met with Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mirko Šarović. The two officials held a bilateral meeting on the margins of the Ministerial Conference on Agriculture and Rural Development in Struga.
Minister Šarović stressed that Montenegro is a regional leader in the field of agriculture within the European integration process and its experience will be extremely important for Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the meeting, the Agreement on cooperation in the field of agriculture and rural development between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina was signed.
DPM Simović said that the Agreement is another step in the creation of an additional framework for deepening cooperation and good neighbourly and friendly relations between the two countries.
He said that the Agreement gives the opportunity to develop cooperation not only in the field of agriculture and rural development but also in the fields of forestry and water management.
"I am confident that our experience will be useful to our colleagues from Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in the opening of negotiation chapters, meeting the initial and final benchmarks, as well as the use of pre-accession funds," DPM Simović said, stressing that Montenegro will offer institutional assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The two officials also pointed to the importance of the fact that Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina do not have open issues.
"We can encourage the businessmen of the two countries that Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue to cherish the relationship of openness and respect of the signed free trade agreements," Deputy Prime Minister Simović stressed.
DPM Simović also met with Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy of Macedonia Ljupco Nikolovski, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of Slovenia Aleksandra Pivec, and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry of Bulgaria Rumen Porodzanov.
15 November 2018 - Representatives of the European Commission recently met with the Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro, Pavle Radulović. They expressed their satisfaction with the results achieved in the field of environment and said they were eager to support Montenegro in the forthcoming period in the implementation of adopted regulations and realization of demanding infrastructure projects.
Representatives of the Directorate for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations and Directorate for the Environment, as well as representatives of the European Union delegation to Montenegro, accompanied by representatives of the European Commission paid special attention to waste management and water quality. In that context, they said that provision of financial funds was a challenge along with the improvement of administration capacities in this domain.
Radulović presented the current situation in regarding the environment in Montenegro, current projects, particularly “Industrial waste management and purification”. Four locations with industrial waste will be rehabilitated within this project. The objective of these projects is the improvement of the environment, the life quality of the citizens and the fulfillment of the requirements envisaged by Chapter 27.
Also, the Montenegrin Economy recently received the principles to follow, which say that everybody will have to enforce the Best Available Techniques (BAT) and work more in order to prevent and reduce pollution, by the effective recovery of energy, reduction of waste and implementing measures for preventing car accidents and their consequences. The law on industrial emissions will determine certain obligations for industrial facilities, in order to avoid or reduce pollution by emissions and waste production as well.
This means that energy producers, metal and mineral production and processing, as well as waste management and other areas such as production of cellulose and paper, slaughterhouses and intensive livestock and pig farming will have to follow strict European rules defined by the law on industrial emissions that the government is to adopt by the end of the year. Read more about Montenegrin Economy Following the European Union's standards here.
The recent progression within Chapter 27, which is covered by environmental issues of the country, started the question of Montenegrin willingness to contribute to the Global Environment. During the meeting with the representatives of the United Nation, it has been concluded that Montenegro is striving to protect its available resources but also wants to contribute to overall global environmental protection initiatives. Read more about the whole process here.
Read more about the relationship between Montenegro and European Commission here.
15 November 2018 - The first Consular Forum organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro is being held on November 15 and 16 in Podgorica.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro Srđan Darmanović, who opened the Forum, expressed his satisfaction that Montenegro is the host of the first Forum that brought together representatives of seventeen countries, with the aim of exchanging experiences and views on the current situation in the area of visa policy, the challenges of migratory movements and consular services in the era of globalization, and pointed to the importance of a continuous strengthening cooperation in these areas.
"Thanks to the joint efforts over the past few years, we have made significant progress towards better cohesion in a number of areas, especially in culture, justice, internal affairs, education and science. With this same goal, we have organized the Forum, convinced that the result of this two-day work will contribute to the even better relations of the participating countries," said Darmanović.
Referring to the achievements of Montenegro in terms of foreign policy priorities, he stressed that our European and Euro-Atlantic partnerships guarantee the security of the country and the security of business and investment environment and that consular activities have an important role to play in that. The Minister concluded that Montenegro successfully fulfills all the obligations arising from the visa liberalization, and thanks to such a policy of the Government, Montenegrin citizens can travel today without visas in 100 countries of the world, while citizens from 104 countries can, without visas, stay in Montenegro.
In the context of the Global Pact on Migration and the upcoming meeting in Marrakech and in connection with one of the topics of the Forum, Minister Darmanović also pointed to the need for cooperation and joint action in relations to the more and more frequent migration movements. In this regard, he stressed that Montenegro seeks to maintain regular communication with the countries of the region and other partners, continuously developing mechanisms and strengthening the capacities in order to provide an adequate response to all challenges, with full respect for international standards.
The first Consular Forum in Montenegro lasts for two days, and the list of representatives includes the ministries of foreign affairs of Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Turkey.
14 November 2018 - In the framework of this year's Montenegrin presidency of the A5 Initiative, a meeting of Defence Ministers of the US-Adriatic Charter (A5) member countries was held in Budva on Wednesday, November 14. The meeting was opened by the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Duško Marković, Minister of Defence, Predrag Bošković and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for the USA, Laura Cooper.
Prime Minister Marković pointed out that the successful fifteen-year operations of the US-Adriatic Charter strongly confirms the quality of the defence cooperation of the Western Balkan countries. He highlighted the significant contribution of the A5 Initiative in achieving the strategic goal of Montenegro to become the 29th member of the North Atlantic Alliance, reminding that this is the third Montenegrin presidency of the Charter, but first as a full-fledged NATO member. Marković also said that the primary objective of the US-Adriatic Charter is to provide support to aspirant countries in the process of approaching and joining the Alliance. He concluded that Montenegro will continue to advocate the rapid and efficient fulfilment of the goals, ie strengthening the comprehensive bilateral cooperation of the countries of South-Eastern Europe.
Minister Bošković emphasized that the US-Adriatic Charter represents an important forum for promoting the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the countries of Southeast Europe, as well as a powerful instrument for strengthening regional cooperation in the field of defence. He said that during the Montenegrin presidency, the Charter confirmed the commitment of member countries to good neighbourly cooperation and joint confrontation with contemporary security challenges, in order to preserve regional stability.
Cooper emphasized the importance of the role of the US-Adriatic Charter in strengthening mutual understanding and trust in the countries of the region. She said that security challenges and issues create a need for defining common resources and projects, which will also contribute to further development of national defence capacities, and that the United States will continue to support the efforts of the countries of the region in this regard.
The participants of the meeting reaffirmed their determination to continue contributing to regional security and stability, through strengthening good neighbourly relations, improving political dialogue and developing military cooperation, in order to ensure lasting peace, stability and prosperity of the region.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Defence of BiH, Marina Pendeš, Defence Minister of Croatia, Damir Krstičević, Defence Minister of Macedonia, Radmila Šekerinska, Defence Minister of Kosovo, Rustem Beriša, Defence Minister of Albania, Olte Džačka, Slovenia’s State Secretary for Defence, Miloš Bizjak, and Serbia’s State Secretary for Defence, Aleksandar Živkovic.
13 November 2018 - The Government of Montenegro has undertaken numerous measures of systemic control of river flows throughout the country, as well as activities aimed at preventing further devastation of river beds due to natural meandering and illegal exploitation of sand and gravel, and in the cases of illegal activities on watercourses, especially in the lower part of Morača and Bolje Sestre zone, said Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Policy and Financial System and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Milutin Simović.
When asked whether the Tara River is endangered by the construction of the priority section of the Bar-Boljare motorway, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed that regulatory works are being carried on other positions as well, not only in the construction area. All these regulatory works are carried out with a view to regulating the river, saving the property of the citizens, and that this is a regular process and something that will be done in the future. The construction of such major infrastructure projects leaves certain scares on nature, but there are remedial projects implying temporary measures, and after that everything that belongs to natures will be brought back to it, he pointed out.
When it comes to the construction of a hydroelectric power plant on the Cijevna River, DPM Simović underlined that "it is important that such projects do not cause a negative impact on our water balance, feeding of sub-waters in the part of the Skadar Lake and that in particular there is no negative impact on the capacity of certain sources, namely of the Bolje sestre source, from where the Regional Water Works for the Montenegrin Coast is being supplied," Deputy Prime Minister Simović concluded.
12 November 2018 - Representatives of the Government of Montenegro, led by Prime Minister Duško Marković recently met with the delegation of the Old Royal Capital Cetinje, led by Mayor Aleksandar Kašćelan.
It was stated that the good strategic position of Cetinje valued through the strengthening of the overall infrastructure and creation of new jobs will provide a better life for the citizens of the Old Royal Capital.
Congratulating on 13 November - Day of the Old Royal Capital Cetinje, the Prime Minister emphasised the undisputed support of the Government for the development of the municipality, but also pointed to the need to strengthen fiscal discipline at the local level. Both sides agreed that additional efforts should be made to consolidate local finances and to collect taxes and reduce the gray economy, especially in the field of tourism. The number of unemployed citizens of Cetinje has been reduced by almost 400 in 2018.
The meeting also discussed the implementation of capital projects. The 2018 Capital Budget foresaw the amount of 5,541,000 EUR for a total of 32 projects in Cetinje.
Speaking about the budget for the next year, PM Marković pointed out that it will be focused on development by limiting spending to what is really necessary.
Kašćelan and his associates expressed satisfaction with the support they receive through the Law on the Old Royal Capital, which enabled them to invest in the equipment of local companies and thus achieve savings. Additional support, as Prime Minister Marković said, can also be expected through the new Law on Financing of Local Self-Government which is being drafted.
PM Marković concluded that the support and partnership between the Government and the Old Royal Capital remain unquestionable, but that the goal is to turn the possibilities into reality.