16 May 2019 - Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Policy and Financial System Milutin Simović is in Vienna, where he met with President of the Austrian National Council Wolfgang Sobotka, Minister for the EU, Art, Culture and Media Gernot Blümel and members of the Foreign Policy Committee of the Parliament of Austria Martin Engelberg, Nikolaus Berlakovich, Gudrun Kugler and Hermann Gahr.
At the meeting with President of the Austrian National Council Wolfgang Sobotka, both sides expressed satisfaction with the quality of the overall relations between Montenegro and Austria. DPM Simović thanked Sobotka for the strong and concrete support of Austria to Montenegro's European perspective and pointed out that such support, which comes from an influential EU member such as Austria, is of great importance to Montenegro.
"We believe the support will continue and be even more solid at the moment of Montenegro's accession to the EU," DPM Simović noted.
Furthermore, Simović emphasised the importance of cooperation between the parliaments of the two countries for further improvement of bilateral relations, but also for further progress of Montenegro in adopting European standards and achieving further progress in meeting Montenegrin European agenda. The Deputy Prime Minister said that, as the former Vice President of the Parliament of Montenegro, he is very well aware of the importance of bilateral parliamentary cooperation and regular communication at this level in these processes. He also expressed satisfaction with the fact that, during Sobotka's official visit to Montenegro, in November last year, excellent parliamentary cooperation was established, through meetings at the highest level and meetings of governmental bodies.
DPM Simović informed President Sobotka about the latest indicators on the growth of the Montenegrin economy and stressed the openness of the Government of Montenegro for cooperation with Austrian companies to increase the trade exchange between the two countries in the field of direct investments of Austrian investors in Montenegro.
President Sobotka said that he always looks forward to meetings with Montenegrin officials. "Montenegro is progressing, implementing reform measures, I am familiar with its latest progress, which should be continued," Sobotka said, adding that Austria will continue to be Montenegro's reliable friend and partner that will provide strong support to its European perspective.
At the meeting with Minister for the EU, Art, Culture and Media Gernot Blümel, Simović confirmed that Montenegro was and remains firmly committed to membership in the European Union. All decisions taken by the Government of Montenegro are carefully analysed from the position of qualitative contribution to further approximation to that main state goal.
The fact that Montenegro opened 32 out of 33 negotiating chapters confirms that the country is on the right path, said the Deputy Prime Minister and added that it can be expected that the remaining negotiation chapter 8 - Competition will be opened this year, since Montenegro has already met all the requirements to open this chapter.
Minister Blümel encouraged Montenegro to continue its path towards the EU. He confirmed that the Government headed by Chancellor Kurz attaches special attention to further integration of the Western Balkans.
"In a time when one country leaves the EU, it is very important that we send a message that the enlargement process is alive, that the idea of a united Europe is even stronger, and these messages will be confirmed by the further progress of Montenegro and the recognition of what Montenegro has achieved so far," Blümel said.
At the meeting with Austrian MPs and members of the Foreign Policy Committee, Martin Engelberg, Nikolaus Berlakovich, Gudrun Kugler and Hermann Gahr, DPM Simović emphasised that Austria's role in the Western Balkans is very important. Montenegro expects to understand what the Western Balkans needs in terms of its European perspective and help in resolving conflicts that continue to burden the region, Simović said.
"In our region, certain economic stability can be noted, and in that part, Montenegro is a leader according to all parameters, but economic stability, progress and development are not possible without the political stability of the region," Simović stressed.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that he deeply believes that European partners of Montenegro will pay extra attention to the Western Balkans, noting that the alternative does not exist.
Simović informed Austrian officials that Montenegro's primary goal on its European path is to adopt and apply European standards, that is, the quality of implementation of European legislation is more important than the date of admission.
"We understand the current circumstances within the Union and we use this period to further focus on ourselves in the fulfillment of our obligations in meeting the European agenda. It is important to join, but at this point, it is even more important to adopt EU standards, European legislation, strengthen institutions, with the belief that this will be recognised by our numerous European friends and properly evaluated," Simović said.
Austrian parliamentarians also confirmed the position of the Government of Austria that it always had a positive attitude towards EU candidate countries. They stressed that they also remember the period when Austria was a candidate country and that they understand the Western Balkans and Montenegro in that regard.
Martin Engelberg said that Montenegro has a reliable partner and friend in Austria. Nikolaus Berlakovich noted that Austria has always tried to provide support to Montenegro. Undoubtedly, Montenegro will be a member of the EU and that is Austria's interest, Berlakovich added.
MP Gudrun Kugler said that she was amazed by Montenegro's natural resources, country's culture and potentials in tourism, while MP Gahr showed interest in further plans on the development of tourism, attracting foreign investments and the impact of tourism on the growth of Montenegro's economy.
MP Engelberg proposed cooperation at the level of governments and parliaments of the two countries in the area of training young staff and civil servants.
During his visit to Vienna, DPM Simović met with our students in Austria at the Embassy of Montenegro.
"Montenegro needs new, modern knowledge, new technologies and skills, know-how, startups and entrepreneurial advancements in all areas," Simović concluded.