Politics

16 Jun 2019, 22:34 PM

15 June 2019 - It is essential to maintain the credibility of the enlargement policy and strengthen the European perspective of the Western Balkans, Foreign Minister of Montenegro Srđan Darmanović and his Czech counterpart Tomaš Petriček concluded at the meeting that recently took place in Podgorica.

The head of Montenegrin diplomacy stressed that Montenegro and the Czech Republic are allies and partners that foster very good relations, and reiterated Montenegro's gratitude for the strong support of the Czech Republic in the achievement of Montenegrin strategic foreign policy priorities. As noted within the official announcement of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro, Srđan Darmanović also added that the cooperation between the two countries has been further strengthened by the alliance in NATO, emphasising the importance of interior cohesion and the continuous strengthening of transatlantic dialogue. By the same token, he pointed out that Montenegro, as a responsible and reliable member, is strongly committed to the values, strategic goals and activities of the Alliance.

With regard to the bilateral agenda, Minister Darmanović stressed that these open and very constructive talks affirmed the Montenegrin-Czech partnership and he welcomed the signing of the Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation, which testifies to the efforts of the two states to develop a legal normative base of mutual relations continuously. He also highlighted the importance of intensifying economic cooperation, especially in the fields of energy, agriculture, and tourism.

Minister Petriček emphasised that the two countries foster excellent and traditionally friendly relations characterised by intense contacts at political and expert levels. He underscored the importance of joint consideration of the modalities of the development of economic cooperation, and the greater presence of the Czech capital on the Montenegrin market. Regarding the European integration of the Western Balkans, Minister Petriček stressed that in the next five years he expects progress in the enlargement process, stating that Montenegro is the leader of the integration process.

Both sides agreed that the European future of the Western Balkans is the only way to long-term stability and the overall development of the region. Furthermore, they noted that the strong support of the Višegrad Group for the process of European integration is very significant, primarily due to the confirmed commitment to continue strengthening the enlargement policy.

Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

16 Jun 2019, 22:14 PM

16 June 2019 - The ban on smoking in the facilities where food and drink are consumed will decrease the income of the restaurants, said the president of the Montenegrin Tourist Association Žarko Radulović, while the president of the Association of Tourism and Catering Association of the Chamber of Commerce, Dragan Ivančević, believes that the business of catering facilities cannot be compromised, reports RTCG.

On Thursday, the Government passed a new Bill on Restriction on the Use of Tobacco Products, which stipulates a ban on smoking in indoor areas, among other things in parts of cafes, bars and restaurants serving drinks or food.

According to new legal provisions, it will also not be possible for the restaurants to pay a fee for smoking in some part of the facility.

Radulović said he expects the new Bill to be adopted, stating that the provisions are precise and clear. "I think that this time the state will have to persevere in its application, but I think that it is too early to assess whether it will and how this new bill will come to life in practice," Radulović said.

Radulović, who was a supporter of the previous legal solution that stipulates that caterers pay a fee of EUR per square meter, if they want to allow tobacco consumption in catering facilities, said that he now considers this the best compromise solution. However, as he added, in practice this solution was compromised to the extent that much lower income was incurred than it was supposed to be.

"So, unfortunately, by disregarding the solutions we proposed, one of the key arguments for the defence and a special decision that corrects the proposed provisions has erupted," Radulović said, adding that the newly proposed solutions are more rigorous.

Asked about how this legal ban will affect catering facilities, Radulović claims that this will reduce revenues, as was the case everywhere in the world. He expects caterers to disagree with the proposed restrictions. "If we all agreed on something in 2017, and only individuals respected the agreement, I think it will be difficult to maintain such a situation. If we all took the previous law seriously and paid our obligations, I think the negotiating position would be even better and more serious," Radulović said.

As he said, it is not realistic that someone can force people to stop consuming tobacco products by law and fines. Radulović thinks that a drastic increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes is the most effective measure. "This is the only measure that has brought results in other countries, but then other issues arise: socioeconomic policy and various policies, so I do not believe that this measure will be adopted. But let's go with the ban, so we'll see how much progress it will make, but I don’t think this progress will be drastic," concluded Radulović.

Ivančević believes that such a decision by the Government follows European trends, which are characteristic of the democratic and civilized world and hold to the core values ​​- the protection of health and the human environment.

"The decision is good and there should be places where it is possible to consume tobacco products, and where people who do not want to feel the smell of nicotine, where they drink and eat, should be free of tobacco products and all the harmful substances it brings," said Ivančević to the MINA Agency. According to him, it's okay to have rooms that are strictly for smokers. "But people who do not want to be close to those who consume tobacco products should be protected," Ivančević added. The use of cigarettes in rooms where people are staying and consuming some services, he said, is not good for tourism, nor is it a trend with the protection of human health, the environment.

Asked whether he thinks that the state will be persistent in applying the law this time, unlike the previous one, Ivančević said that the country has so far adopted many norms, laws, and rules that were good and on the track of European standards, but that it did not have the strength to implement them.

"The state has a good law, and then there is no power to implement it. We expect that the state will finally find a way to implement those laws and norms that it determines itself," Ivančević said.

He believes that this legal solution cannot particularly jeopardize the business of catering facilities. "Those who propose and pass laws do not have to go in this direction, nor have ambitions to like everyone, but they must protect the public and the general interest primarily," Ivančević concluded.

Read more about Politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

15 Jun 2019, 23:53 PM

15 June 2019 - Montenegro has made significant progress in pursuing reforms and showed that, as a NATO member state, it is a reliable partner that contributes to the common values and remains firmly dedicated to achieving further progress, especially in the rule of law area, it was noted at today's meeting of Prime Minister Duško Marković and Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Hendrik van den Dool.

"We want to enter the EU once we meet the conditions and to show that we are a credible partner and that by Montenegro’s accession new value is obtained. Also, it is important for Europe to improve the enlargement policy, make it unquestionable and send a clear message that there is no united Europe without the Western Balkans,” the Prime Minister told the Dutch Ambassador, who was paying a farewell visit.

Prime Minister Marković pointed to the strong economic growth and activities undertaken in order to increase competitiveness, improve the business environment and administration efficiency. As noted by the Government of Montenegro announcement, the Prime Minister assessed as positive the presence of the Dutch company Damen in Montenegro, hopeful that the increasing number of the Dutch business people will be investing in Montenegro.

Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Hendrik van den Dool emphasised that Montenegro has made huge progress although certain challenges remain. The progress, in his words, can be seen with the naked eye.

"As Montenegro progresses to the EU, the task will become more difficult. But, the Netherlands is there to help," the Dutch Ambassador stated.

The meeting also discussed the situation in the region and the importance of the continuation of the European and Euro - Atlantic integration with regard to peace, stability and prosperity on the Balkans.

The two officials agreed on the importance of the decision of Montenegro to open the embassy in the Hague and that it is about boosting high–quality relations between the two countries. 

"It is a privilege to have partners such as the Netherlands, which has always objectively considered our possibilities and progress but also pointed to the real challenges. Such an attitude was very incentive for us and our progress," Prime Minister Marković concluded.

Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

15 Jun 2019, 23:32 PM

14 June 2019 - During his working visit to Slovenia, Interior Minister of Montenegro Mevludin Nuhodžić visited the most frequent border crossing, Obrežje, on the border with Croatia. The visit was an opportunity for the Montenegrin delegation to become familiar with the closer procedures that are being conducted within border checks in line with the Schengen standards, given that Slovenia became part of the Schengen area more than a decade ago.

Slovenian colleagues presented the way of work at the border crossing, which is at the same time the external border of the Schengen area, as well as equipment for the first and second checking lines and the infrastructure solutions prescribed by the EU Schengen Catalog.

Minister Nuhodžić expressed gratitude for the assistance and praised the cooperation with Slovenia during the implementation of the Twinning project "Support to the establishment of the Schengen acquis", within which the Schengen Action Plan, which was adopted by the Government in 2017, had been drafted.

"Montenegro has made progress in terms of Schengen standards related to harmonisation of the legal framework, infrastructure and information and communication systems, and we pay special attention to education and strengthening of the personal capacities of the Border Police," said Minister Nuhodžć in the announcement of the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro.

During his stay in Slovenia, Interior Minister of Montenegro Mevludin Nuhodžić also met with Interior Minister of Slovenia and they discussed the fight against organized crime, terrorism and illegal migration.

On this occasion, the two officials agreed that Montenegro and Slovenia are two friendly countries, and that cooperation between the two ministries of the interior is traditionally good. On this occasion, Minister Nuhodžić was grateful for Slovenia's support to Montenegro in fulfilling two of the most important foreign policy goals – membership in NATO, which Montenegro has already achieved, and membership in the European Union.

Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

15 Jun 2019, 22:49 PM

14 June 2019 - After joining NATO, Montenegro has a much greater chance of development, and its inhabitants have more opportunities for education and employment, assessed the secretary for political and economic issues at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Montenegro Anna Kasprzak.

According to RTCG, at a gathering organized by the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) within the framework of the project "Let's take a stand for future prospects: the Alliance of Youth and NATO", the Secretary said that the votes of all member states are equally important and that they have equal impact in making foreign policy decisions.

"Montenegro, which has celebrated two years of membership, has an exceptional opportunity for development, and the inhabitants have a much greater number of opportunities provided by NATO. The important fact is that each state has the same vote in the alliance, regardless of whether it is Poland which has 38 million inhabitants or Montenegro, with 620 thousand inhabitants," Kasprzak said.

She said that Poland's accession to NATO had made a significant step towards its development.

"The economic situation in Poland is stabilized after accession; we have a business situation that guarantees that investments in Poland can be safe and give profits to investors." The results are still visible today, and the forecast for this year shows more than four percent of GDP in relation to 2018," Kasprzak said.

She estimated that membership contributed to the reduction of unemployment and made that country more attractive to Europe's citizens.

"Unemployment in Poland in April amounted to 5,6 percent and Poland also had the lowest unemployment rate in relation to all European countries. We provide great opportunities to an increasing number of young people to come and work in our country," said Kasprzak.

Head of the Directorate for NATO, European Union and peacekeeping operations in the Ministry of Defense, Radmila Perović, said that in the past two years the Ministry of Defense has carried out numerous reforms, and the effect of which has been recognized by NATO allies.

"However, these reforms were not only aimed at membership, but also the building of institutions, strengthening the system and accepting the values ​​shared by this society, because among the allies there are the most developed democracies of the world. This is recognized in Montenegro, we have gained reputation and precisely because of that we were received into the Alliance," explained Perovic.

She said that Montenegro's membership, apart from political and military advantages, had broader socio-economic significance and that significant results were recorded that confirm progress in relation to 2017.

Read more about Politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

15 Jun 2019, 03:05 AM

13 June 2019 - Montenegro's Minister of Science Sanja Damjanović and Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Montenegro Karel Urban signed the agreement between the two governments on scientific and technological cooperation during the official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Tomaš Petriček to Montenegro, as stated by the representatives of the Government of Montenegro.

Before the official ceremony of signing the agreement, Minister Damjanović met with FM Petriček for talks on the exchange information on the systems of science and research in Montenegro and the Czech Republic, with particular reference to the Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3), modalities of cooperation between the academic community and the economy through the establishment and financing of Scientific and Technological Parks, as well as on the regional project the establishment of the International Institute for Sustainable Technologies of South East Europe (SEEIIST).

In that regard, Minister Damjanović spoke about the challenges Montenegro, as a small country, has been facing in the field of science, research and innovation on its path to the EU, which is why, in order to identify the advantages the country has, it is finalising Smart Specialisation Strategy, whose adoption is expected by the end of the month.

Montenegro and Czech Republic Scientific and Technological Cooperation11

 

"There is a particularly important link between the academic community and the economy, with the focus on the need for greater investment of private sector funds in science and research, and for this reason, Montenegro has joined the establishment of the first Science and Technology Park in Podgorica. Greater networking and the strengthening of the process of internationalisation is provided through the membership of Montenegro in many international scientific institutions, as well as through the regional project of establishing the International Institute for Sustainable Technologies of South East Europe (SEEIIST), which would also contribute to reducing the outflow of talent but also economic prosperity of this region," Minister Damjanović said.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic emphasised his support for Montenegro's EU bid, pointing to the experience of the Czech Republic in the implementation of the Smart Specialisation Strategy, as well as the knowledge gained in relation to the academic community. In that regard, he agreed with Minister Damjanović on the need to strengthen cooperation between the Czech and Montenegrin companies, especially within the framework of the NTP concept, but also through the possibility of joint implementation of projects from S3 priority areas: health tourism, agriculture, energy, and ICT.

He also referred the need to strengthen university cooperation, especially through the ERASMUS + programme, while in the terms of SEEIIST, he pointed to the possibility of cooperation with the Institute of Physics in Prague, with the indication that the country will support the placement of SEEIIST on the European Road Map (ESFRI). Both sides supported the proposal to jointly announce the Competition for submission of bilateral scientific-research projects, with special emphasis on large research projects.

The agreement enables the Montenegrin researchers to work in research centres and institutes in the Czech Republic, use of cutting-edge technologies and modern laboratories, exchange of knowledge and experience through joint research projects, as well as the possibility of training of masters and doctoral candidates engaged in projects. It also allows for greater joint participation in international and European projects, especially in Horizont 2020.

Read more news about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

14 Jun 2019, 01:24 AM

12 June 2019 - The fight against organized crime, terrorism and illegal migration was the main topic of the bilateral meeting in Ljubljana between the Minister of the Interior Mevludin Nuhodžić and his counterpart from Slovenia Boštjan Poklukar. 

The two officials agreed that Montenegro and Slovenia are two friendly countries, and that cooperation between the two ministries of the interior is traditionally good. On this occasion, Minister Nuhodžić was grateful for Slovenia's support to Montenegro in fulfilling two of the most important foreign policy goals – membership in NATO, which Montenegro has already achieved, and membership in the European Union. 

As the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro reported, Minister Nuhodžić assessed that the cooperation between the two police organizations had yielded good results. Furthermore, he emphasised the importance of further strengthening the cooperation between the two departments to provide a high-quality response to common security challenges, but also to prevent all forms of crime. 

Minister of the Interior of Slovenia Poklukar confirmed Slovenia's strong support to the European integration of Montenegro, and in that sense announced the continuation of cooperation and assistance through new joint projects. 

Speaking on organized crime and terrorism, Minister Poklukar pointed out that the Montenegrin security authorities are a strong partner of the Slovenian police. In this regard, the ministers agreed that successful response to security challenges requires close cooperation and continuous exchange of information between the police of the two countries, and agreed to intensify cooperation in this regard. 

Speaking on the topic of illegal migration and the situation in that area from a regional perspective, the ministers agreed that migrations are not a matter of a single state. In that regard, they noted the importance of continuous and open communication of the police in the region and further strengthening of cooperation.

Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

12 Jun 2019, 23:51 PM

12 June 2019 - Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Montenegro Songul Ozan said that Herceg Novi is an attractive destination, stressing that Turkey is interested in finding a model and helping the reconstruction project for the Kanli Kula Fortress and rehabilitation of this landslide-degraded area.

Н.Е. Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Montenegro, Songul Ozan, recently paid a working visit to Herceg Novi, where she met with the Mayor of the Municipality, Stevan Katić and his associates, reports the local government.

Herceg Novi Turkey Willing to Invest in Kanli Kula Fortress Rehabilitation 2

The management of the Municipality of Herceg Novi welcomed Ambassador Ozan, who pointed out that this coastal city is one of the most beautiful in Montenegro, and that the country is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

The Ambassador gained insight into current events in Herceg Novi, cultural events throughout the year, as well as into the cooperation between Herceg Novi and city Jedrene, whose orchestra participated in the 50th Mimosa Festival. This cooperation resulted in the guest appearance of City Music Herceg Novi and majorettes at the 9th International Festival of Wind Orchestras in Jedrene in early March. Both sides agreed that this is a good example of cooperation between the two cities and states, which should continue in the future.

Katić also reminded the Ambassador of plans that are not in the municipality's jurisdiction, but their realization is crucial, such as the construction of the bypass and the rehabilitation of the slopes at Kanli Kula, one of the most beautiful summer stages in this part of the Adriatic. He also pointed to the current socio-economic status of our citizens, caused by unsuccessful privatization processes, both in Herceg Novi and throughout Montenegro.

Herceg Novi Turkey Willing to Invest in Kanli Kula Fortress Rehabilitation 3

As the focus of the city government work, President Katić emphasized the arrangement of infrastructure and the revitalization of cultural objects.

Ambassador Ozan pointed out that Herceg Novi is an attractive destination for Turkish tourists, and that Montenegro and Turkey are connected with history and culture. She expressed the interest of the representatives of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey, in cooperation with the city and the state, to find a model to help the Kanli Kula Fortress and to implement a landslide rehabilitation project that threatens this fortress.

The Ambassador expressed her hope that Herceg Novi will further increase the number of Turkish investors and she invited the municipality's leadership to consider the candidacy of projects at the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).

Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

12 Jun 2019, 22:46 PM

Local experts in spatial planning, sustainable development, and protection of the cultural heritage of Kotor believe that the Draft Spatial Plan of Kotor represents only the continuity of inadequate planning documents for this area and leads to further devastation of space.

Within the public hearing on the Draft of the Spatial Plan of the Municipality of Kotor and the accompanying Draft of the Report on Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment, the local expert group submitted their remarks to these documents to the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism. Experts are supported by part of the participants on the round table on this topic, Center for Sustainable Spatial Development Expeditio from Kotor organized on 5 June.

"Considering the current situation in Kotor, risking to lose the World Heritage status due to over-urbanization, the general importance of adopting a Spatial Urban Plan for the development of municipalities, and the problematic procedure and the quality of the document itself, local experts claim that the Draft Spatial Plan is only a continuation of inadequate planning arrangements for this area," Expeditio said on their official FB page.

"Even though the plan suggests, with the pressures of the outside, before all UNESCO, that it will partly limit the construction of facilities, we consider it still doesn't help the city to start from the deadlocks that it found by the lack of responsibility of local and state institutions."

Apart of the local experts, comments have been signed by some of the participants of the round table under the project "Active Citizens for Better Montenegro - The Rule of Law and Sustainable Development of Montenegro." At the roundtable, representatives of the profession, competent institutions, as well as all political parties operating in Kotor, were invited.

Experts recall that the neglect of expert opinion in the field of spatial planning in the last 15 years has caused Kotor today threatening to review status on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

In their view, the Draft Spatial Plan does not represent the sustainable development strategy with the idea but allows for further alteration of the ambiance, thus destabilizing the values for which the Natural and Cultural Historic Area of Kotor is enrolled on the World Heritage List.

The presented document experts commented in the remarks as unworthy of the profession, without the minimum of professional standards.

"Methodologically, the document is at an inappropriately low level, full of contradictions, copied pieces from different materials, which, in a large extent, represent the content of the document itself, which is unacceptable. Such a plan will be impossible to implement," states the letter addressed to the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, which has signed 13 of the most subordinated space planning and protection experts from Boka Bay.

They point out that a significant role for this plan plays the legislative framework - the Space Planning and Construction Facility Act of 2018, which instead of introducing the order and upgrading the space planning system has led to complete chaos. The established, previously confirmed planning practices were abolished, creating a prerequisite for accelerating the devastation of space, ignoring the already dramatic condition in Montenegro.

One of the critical remarks of experts from Kotor is that the Draft Spatial Plan does not entirely rely on the Cultural Heritage Protection Study for the area of the Kotor Municipality, which was done precisely for this document. This Study is only formally cited, but its core guidelines and the way of treating the Invertebrate Areas are not taken into account, which is incomprehensible, because, for a municipality where more than one third of the territory is on the Heritage List, it must have been the primary starting point for making the plan, experts conclude.

The only solution to the current situation is that the planning is brought back to experienced teams of planning experts, with the involvement of experts in the area of protection of the World Heritage, who would, without resorting to politics and personal interests make a document that would represent a breakthrough from the previous harmful planning practices.

"Of course, the prerequisite is a complete change of the space planning system (because its improvement is unfortunately impossible), including the legislative framework. The priority should be given to preserving the extraordinary universal value of the Kotor Area, as clearly indicated by the UNESCO / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission Report of November 2018, "states the remarks, experts from Boka Bay submitted yesterday to the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro.

12 Jun 2019, 13:39 PM
June 12, 2019 - The main conclusion of the UNESCO mission that ended at the end of last year was that the construction of bridges, as well as the exploitation and disposal of gravel and sand, severely devastated the Tara river bed within the UNESCO protected area "Man and Biosphere," announced the Research Center fof the Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector- MANS.
 
The UNESCO rating comes after both the European Commission and the European Parliament in their reports to Montenegro recognized the disastrous impact of the construction of the Bar-Boljar highway on the Tara river and demanded urgent enforcement of devastation measures.
 
The UNESCO report states that compliance with environmental and biological standards for the construction of a motorway is not adequate and does not meet all the necessary parameters, especially in the part where the monitoring results with the instructions for the improvements are not immediately communicated to the contractor and the supervisory authorities. 
 
What was witnessed in the footage produced by the MANS Research Center in October UNESCO's findings now confirm last year. The Mission registered more landfills, sand and gravel dumps in the mainland, as well as in the Tara River basin itself. UNESCO warns that "although these problems can be addressed after the end of the highway, it is clear that there will be visible impacts even after the completion of construction.
 
As the main negative impact of UNESCO's construction, it recognizes the fact that the toll ramp and the inclusion/disconnection from the motorway at Matešev are planned and built in the so-called floodplain area, resulting in the devastation of the floodwater character of the river. As stated, this river property is key to maintaining the ecological value of Tara, along with the biodiversity, the particular fauna of the fish. If it were not built in this area, there would be no need for regulation, and the impact on river ecology would be smaller, according to a UNESCO report.
 
In its recommendations, the Mission proposes to make an immediate assessment and closely monitor the impact of motorway construction on the downstream Tara River and to report on this to UNESCO regularly. UNESCO's recommendation is to modify the existing Strategic Assessment to include all the potential impacts that the works have in the downstream sector and to develop a rigorous Environmental Management Plan that will mitigate all negative effects.
 
MANS, in cooperation with environmental organizations, has been calling for the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism to stop ignoring the problem that exists on the Tara, which is a direct consequence of the construction of the priority section of the Bar-Boljare highway.
 
Although since the first record of devastation and filing of criminal reports has been over half a year, no one has so far responded to what has been recognized by all relevant international addresses as a clear breach of not only domestic regulations but also internationally undertaken obligations to protect the Tara River.
 
The data and whether and to what extent the Chinese CRBC company is reputed is not known because the state has declared it a business secret, and judging by what was publicly available, Minister Pavle Radulovic did nothing to comply with the recommendations of international institutions and mitigate the consequences devastation.
 
Unfortunately, by such behavior, Minister Radulovic sends a direct message to the contractors and subcontractors for a public letter that devastation will not be punished, that profit above the protection of the environment, and above all that its role in the complete project consists in protecting them rather than the public interest.
 
MANS will continue, in cooperation with environmental NGOs, to insist on the transparency of the entire project, but also after defining the level of devastation measures for its sanitation, and the penalties all responsible for the multi-month devastation of the Tara River.
 
Source: mans.co.me
12 Jun 2019, 00:01 AM

10 June 2019 - By joining the European Union, Montenegro wants to be in the company of allied European countries that cherish and protect human dignity as their highest value, Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Pažin said for the Government of Montenegro at the opening of the plenary session of the Club of Venice in Bar.

"This value is exactly on what modern Montenegro was built and why we see our membership in the European Union as a natural continuation of the historical process of affirmation and preservation of the civil and European identity of our country," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

He stressed that current and future members of the European Union must be aware of the shared responsibility for the success of the United Europe project.

"We have no ambition to join the European Union before we are fully prepared to fulfill all our obligations and enjoy the full benefits of fully-fledged membership. However, we must all be aware that we share a common destiny as Europeans. That the future of European countries, the competitiveness of our economies and our way of life depend to a large extent on the success of a European project, for which we have a common responsibility," DPM Pažin emphasised.

By this occasion, he also estimated that it is very important for citizens to understand the significance of this historic mission of the European Union, as well as to understand the alleged alternatives to the European democratic values, which are offered to them.

"Advocating the accession of new members to the European Union based on merit is, in fact, the affirmation of a key EU mission – the spread of peace and prosperity across the European continent. On the other hand, greater support from the European public for admitting new members to the EU will strengthen the Union's internal cohesion and significantly strengthen the credibility and substance of its basic principle – united in diversity," Deputy Prime Minister Pažin highlighted.

He pointed out that today the EU's generations born and raised in the period of peace and prosperity, unprecedented in the history of the old continent, challenge the very purpose and key values of a united Europe, and reminded that, also in Europe, there are generations who, not so long ago, grew up in significantly different and unfavourable circumstances, in which some of the basic human needs were considered luxury.

Furthermore, the Deputy Prime Minister stated that this could be part of the reason why people in the southwest of Europe generally support the European Union more. He added, however, that the support that the European Union enjoys in the region of Southeast Europe is not only a matter of ideals, values or a common identity, but also a very specific progress in improving the quality of life and the standard of living.

"Take Montenegro as an example. Since we, as an independent state, began our path to the European Union in 2006, the average salaries and pensions in Montenegro have doubled. Today, our citizens travel freely throughout Europe, our students, lecturers and scientists participate in numerous study and research programmes, while our farmers receive significant expert and financial support from European funds," DPM Pažin said.

The Club of Venice is a European professional network that gathers senior public communications professionals from EU member states and institutions, and more recently the candidate country for EU membership. Montenegro is the first country outside the European Union to host the plenary session of the Club of Venice in 33 years of the existence of this prestigious European forum.

The plenary session of the Club of Venice in Montenegro discusses the issues of communication strategies for engaging citizens in European politics, experiences from recently held European elections, combating misinformation, communication of enlargement policy and development of communication capacities and practices of European institutions, member states and candidate countries. This is the first event of this kind that gathered government officials from EU member states and institutions after the European Parliament elections.

Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

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