Politics

16 Oct 2019, 01:22 AM

15 October 2019 - Montenegro has made serious progress on its path to the European Union and will be its next member, said new European Parliament rapporteur for Montenegro Tonino Picula, reports Fena News Agency.

According to Picula, Montenegro will be the first in line as a new EU member state, but there’s still a lot to do until then. The EU has been facing numerous issues and it seems that the enlargement policy is not its top priority. Some EU member states clearly state that now is not the time to speak about the enlargement, which calls the whole story about the expected 2025 enlargement into question.

In an interview for CdM, the newly-elected European Parliament Rapporteur on Montenegro Mr Tonino Picula claimed the enlargement policy hadn’t been the EU’s topmost priority anymore. He said that some EU member states categorically refuse further EU enlargement until the Union consolidates.

“No one will state loud and clear to be against the enlargement, it’s a part of a political game, but there’s a strong resistance within the EU member states, that is, they do not want the enlargement to happen until the rearrangement of power relations takes place, and some new models are adopted,” Mr Picula explained.

"In any case, the next enlargement of the Union, when it happens, will not occur without Montenegro. Whether Montenegro will enter alone or with another country is an open question. Still, if it continues this kind of work as it has done for ten years, then the next expansion will not be possible without Montenegro, "Picula said in an interview with Nova M. He said that the work that Montenegro has done so far must be noted, but it must also continue with reforms and next projects, because if there is no further progress, it can lead to serious frustration for both sides.

He also added that the enlargement policy reached a peak in 2004 when ten new states joined the EU and in 2007 – when Bulgaria’s and Romania’s accession took place.

Mr Picula continued: “Currently, the enlargement policy is not one of the EU’s top priorities as the Union needs to consolidate itself first.”

"Montenegro has procedures in place, mechanisms to move forward with the conclusion of the negotiations, but what has not been done so far will have to be done in circumstances that will not always be easy. At the moment, the political scene in Montenegro is polarized; there are serious disagreements between the authorities and the opposition on how to proceed. However, I will try to overcome this gap with my experience in order to reach a common goal - Montenegro's membership in the EU, "Picula concluded.

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

12 Oct 2019, 15:02 PM

12 October 2019 - Moody's credit rating agency has affirmed the B1 credit rating for Montenegro, while retaining a "positive" outlook.

The credit rating is the result of high GDP per capita, optimistic prospects for EU accession, and a strong investment trend with a focus on foreign direct investment. The latest Moody's report welcomes significant investment projects implemented in the transport, tourism and energy sectors.

Furthermore, the B1 credit rating justifies the strong middle-term growth potential, supported by the implementation of adequate structural reforms, as well as the implementation of the Government's effective measures that contribute to strengthening Montenegro's fiscal position. In addition, specific Government activities have been identified that have reduced the medium-term refinancing risks in Montenegro.

The main drivers of growth are evident in the construction, transport, tourism and energy sectors. The growth was also stimulated by public investment, above all, by the construction of the priority section of the Bar-Boljare motorway, reports Government of Montenegro. On the other hand, a significant contribution to the growth was also made by household consumption, fueled by a record-breaking tourist season and positive developments in the labour market, where in the second quarter of 2019, the unemployment rate was at a historically low level of 14,3%.

The report states that 2019 will be another record-breaking year in the tourism sector, in line with an increase in arrivals for the period January - August of 17.2% and overnight stays of 9.2%, compared to the same period last year.

Finally, the report praises the legal and administrative reforms that are being implemented, especially in the context of accession to the European Union, which is a further impetus for the advancement of the rule of law while continuing to strengthen the capacities of the institutions in the coming years.

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

11 Oct 2019, 09:48 AM
October 11, 2019 - The Montenegrin government has sent a protest to Albania over the latest environmental accidents in the Bojana River watershed, which, according to the government, threaten the image of this prestigious tourist destination.
 
"Following good-neighborly policy, the Government of Montenegro, consistently insisting on the implementation of all international conventions, in constant communication with the Albanian side.
 
The protest of the Government of Montenegro came after the competent, at the invitation of concerned residents of Ulcinj, toured the ground and found that the corpses of dead hens, cows, and pigs were floating on the Bojana River.
 
The director of the Food, Veterinary, and Phytosanitary Affairs Directorate, Vesna Dakovic, who coordinated the action on the field, said on Wednesday that everything was a cross-border problem. That is, animals originating in neighboring Albania are dead; since in the broader area, there are no poultry farms on the Montenegrin side.
 
"It is evident that the problem is cross-border in nature. The results of the laboratory analyses of the samples showed that the poultry was not infected with any disease that could be transmitted to humans. Still, it was isolated Salmonella, which affects the poultry and from which the chickens were most likely killed," Dakovic said.
 
It was planned to start the action of collecting waste from water immediately. It is estimated that several days will be required to obtain this waste when visiting the upper stream of the river".
 
The protest was addressed to the Albanian side on the initiative of the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Policy and Financial System, Milutin Simovic, and Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Pavel Radulovic.
 
"Accordingly, the Montenegrin side is obliged to inform all its international partners, which will be done in an emergency official procedure," the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism said in a statement.
 
Recall that the first incident of this kind was officially reported on September 30, 2019. On that occasion, the inspector took samples from the field and sent for analysis to determine that the quantity found had been harmlessly removed.
 
11 Oct 2019, 09:36 AM
October 11, 2019 - Croatian MEP Tonino Picula has been named reporter for the European Parliament for Montenegro, which has been in the EU candidate status since 2010 and began accession negotiations in June 2012, the MEP office announced on Thursday.
 
"Of all the candidate countries, Montenegro has moved farthest in its negotiations with the European Union, and as a reporter for the European Parliament for Montenegro, I will advocate strengthening its ties with the Union to become a full member as soon as possible. It is of strategic interest for Croatia to have other Union members at all its borders. Our experience and know-how, which we gained as the last country to become an EU member, should be transferred to the countries in the region, and I believe that in Podgorica, we will have the right partners on their path to the Union," Picula said during the appointment.
 
Picula stressed that the endorsement of Joseph Borrell by the EP as a candidate for European Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, who placed the Western Balkan countries at the top of his term of office, further strengthens their European perspective.
 
In its negotiations with Montenegro, the Union emphasizes the rule of law, an independent judiciary, freedom of the media, and a more effective fight against crime and corruption. Chapters 23 (Justice and Fundamental Rights) and 24 (Justice, Freedom, and Security) are priorities for this country. Currently, most of the 83 provisional benchmarks in Chapters 23 and 24, which relate to improving the legislative and institutional framework, have been met.
 
Montenegro has opened a total of 32 of the 35 negotiating chapters, and three are provisionally closed. The EC report for 2018 reveals a lack of confidence in the electoral system. Still, on the other hand, Montenegro is making moderate progress in the judiciary and is making the same progress in public administration concerning rationalization and depoliticization, where further efforts are needed, statement.
10 Oct 2019, 12:00 PM
October 10, 2019 - The Joint Advisory Committee of the European Committee of the Regions - CoR and Montenegro will hold its 13th session on Monday, 15 October, in Tivat.
 
The CoR is an assembly of local and regional representatives in the European Union. It is an EU political organization comprising 350 members and 350 alternate members from all EU Member States. The members are elected at the local or regional level (e.g., mayors, mayors, mayors, city board members, assemblies). The members were assembled into political groups (European political parties; there are now five). CoR is headed by President, now Karl-Heinz Lambertz (Socialist from Belgium).
 
The European Committee of the Regions is the voice of EU cities, municipalities, and regions. Advises EU legislatures (EU Council, European Parliament) on legislation, which is implemented at the local and regional levels in 70%. It meets full six times a year in Brussels / Brussels, and also acts on six thematic committees.
 
As a permanent form of cooperation with EU candidate countries - including Montenegro - CoR maintains joint advisory committees. These are parity bodies, meaning that they have an equal number of members from the CoR and the partner country, in this case, eight. JCC ME has two co-chairs; from the EU (CoR), it is Jelena Drenjanin (Sweden, European People's Party - EPP), and from Montenegro is Aleksandar Kašćelan, Mayor of Cetinje. On the European side, the CoR General Secretariat prepares the session of the Committee, and on the Montenegrin Union of Municipalities.
 
 
There will be two crucial topics on the agenda of the 13th session of the JCC ME: the system of financing and maintenance of municipal infrastructure and "Should we still work with our hands?" - The role of industry in economic development at the local level. Speakers from Montenegro (host, Tivat Mayor Dr Sinisa Kusovac; Montenegrin Chief EU Negotiator Aleksandar Drljevic; Sanja Zivkovic, Secretary of the Spatial Planning Committee of the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro; Ranko Misnic, Mayor of Mojkovac and others), guests from the EU will also speak : Aivo Orav, Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Montenegro; Jaroslav Hlinka, CoR rapporteur for the 2019 Enlargement Package (Slovakia, Socialist); Sonja Polonijo, Crikvenica City Hall, waste management expert, and Dr. Velibor Mackic, professor at the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb.
 
09 Oct 2019, 16:29 PM

09 October 2019 - At the invitation of the President of the Parliament of Montenegro Ivan Brajović, a delegation of the Parliament of Georgia, headed by president Archil Talakvadze, is making its official visit to Montenegro, CdM reports.

Brajović pointed out in the meeting with the delegation that the visit was an additional impulse for strengthening ties and enhancing political dialogue at high and the highest level.

"Montenegro-Georgia relations are friendly. We share European values and the vision of the future in the European Union. Montenegro supports territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. As NATO members, we will continue to support Euro-Atlantic ambitions this country cherishes," said President of the Parliament of Montenegro Ivan Brajović.

While expressing special satisfaction about the meeting with President of the Parliament of Montenegro Ivan Brajović, Georgian president of the Parliament Archil Talakvadze pointed out that the visit to Montenegro was his priority.

"I congratulate Montenegro on everything it has achieved so far. From the political and economic point of view, Montenegro can serve as an example to other countries in the region. Citizens of Georgia were very happy about Montenegro’s Euro-Atlantic success," said Archil Talavadze.

Interlocutors agreed that parliaments had a very responsible role in the further democratization of countries.

Georgian president of the Parliament also thanked Montenegro for the support it pledges to his country in the process of democratic transition, Euro-Atlantic and European path.

They also discussed political and economic priorities in the development of Montenegro and Georgia, as well as economic cooperation that can be improved in many areas.

Presidents of Parliaments of Montenegro and Georgia laid a wreath at the monument of the Partisan soldier in Gorica. Tonight at 7 PM in Bar, the Honorary Consulate of Georgia in Montenegro will be officially opened.

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

09 Oct 2019, 10:13 AM
October 9, 2019 - Cooperation between the URA Civic Movement and European Greens has been ongoing for over a year. MEPs have repeatedly called for the protection of Montenegro's natural beauties in the European Parliament, of which the issue of the Tara was particularly problematic. The delegation of European Greens, led by Thomas Weiss, paid a working visit to Montenegro from 26 to 31 August. During that visit, the first steps were taken, and closer cooperation between URA and European Greens was considered.
 
The Committee of the European Greens was very pleased with Thomas Weiss's report on his working visit to Montenegro. The Greens of Europe have expressed their willingness and interest to work more closely with the URA Civic Movement on a common green agenda, the fight for the environment, and the fight against corruption. The European Greens have made an official invitation to the URA for Green Europe Association membership. The URA also received an invitation to attend the European Greens Congress in Tampere in November this year.
 
In the coming days, it is expected that the Main Board of the URA Civic Movement and the Presidency of that party will decide for the URA to enter the application process for membership of the Green Europe Association.
 
URA states that they inherit the same values ​​as the Greens of Europe and that this is not only environmental protection and sustainable development but also protection of human rights, the rule of law, a free society, professional and independent institutions.
 
The European Greens are a party that is a significant expansion in the European Union (EU). Germany, which is the most influential and most important member of the EU, has seen particularly strong growth. They improved their result from the previous European Parliament (EP) elections by almost 30%. From the last 50 seats, they had previously increased to about 70, but that number will continue to grow after the UK leaves the EU.
 
According to polls, the Greens in Germany have about 26 percent of support, and they are individually the most influential party with a high chance that they are the next Chancellor. In the recent elections in Austria, the Greens won about 14 percent of the vote and are the biggest surprise and the party with the most significant increase in support.
 
Greens, unlike some other groups, are pursuing an EU enlargement policy and affirming efforts to make the Balkans part of the European Union.
 
The European Greens' delegation led by Thomas Weiss paid a working visit to Montenegro from 26 to 31 August at the invitation of the URA Civic Movement. During this period, the delegation visited Ulcinj Salina, Cetinje, Lovcen, Tara, Lake Biograd, Black Lake, Zabljak, Bukovica, and Sinjajevina. During the visit to the natural beauties of Montenegro and ecological foci, the importance of environmental protection was discussed; problems were addressed with the construction of mini-hydro power plants, but the devastation of rivers and mountains. It was concluded that only through joint efforts can we stand up for our natural treasures and that this should be a continuous process for the sake of sustainable development and a better life for all future generations of our country's citizens.
 
During their visit, the Greens said that the URA, the civilian sector, and civic activists are not alone in the fight to preserve Montenegro's natural beauties. The importance of closer cooperation between civil society, local people, and political parties in the battle for nature conservation was particularly emphasized.
 
During the Greens' visit, the URA organized two working lunches in Ulcinj and Zabljak, where NGOs and civic activists involved in environmental protection spoke with members of the delegation.
MEP Thomas Weiss said during the visit that he sees the Green URU as "a pro-European party initiated by the fight for human rights and civil society and the fight to tackle environmental problems". Weiss specifically said he was pleasantly surprised by the close cooperation between ERO and the civilian sector.
 
The URA used the visit of the Greens to introduce them to the natural beauty and tourist potential of Montenegro. Take a look through the lenses of the cameras that capture those most beautiful landscapes and moments.
 
Particular emphasis was placed on the devastation of the Tara River and the planned construction of a military training ground in Sinjajevina.
 
Representatives of the Greens stated after visiting the Tara River that the riverbed was devastated by narrowing the riverbed, creating artificial dikes, that in some places there was a change in the river's, so that in one part of it completely changes the flow.
 
When visiting the Tara River, Thomas Weiss said he "wondered how Montenegro could handle Chapter 27 with this kind of environmental devastation." When visiting Sinjajevina, Weiss noted that the mountain should not be turned into a military training ground, but that it should be used for agricultural development and tourism. He stated that Sinajevina had an incredible landscape and that it is the second-largest pasture in Europe, which is why it must be preserved from devastation.
08 Oct 2019, 14:36 PM
October 8, 2019 - According to Independent MP Nedjeljko Rudovic, Montenegro's accession to the European Union (EU) has virtually been halted, blamed solely by its political and judicial leadership.
 
"I do not know if it is a balance clause, the fact is that Montenegro's negotiations with the EU have stopped," Rudovic said.
 
He recalled that since 2012, when it opened negotiations, Montenegro has not been able to close a single chapter formally.
 
"This, of course, has to do with the new approach and the connection of Chapters 23 and 24 with everything else. But that goes to show that there are no results in a critical area, and that is the rule of law, which is quite clear from every statement made by EU officials, and from every EC progress report on Montenegro," said Rudovic.
 
Everything happening in the judiciary, and the attitude of the court to the current affairs has a direct repercussion on the future of Montenegro's accession to the Union.
 
"Essentially, at this moment, that accession has stopped. Formally, probably, no one will say it, but the fact is that we are not going forward," said Rudovic.
 
He pointed out that it was not the fault of the chief negotiator or, for example, the minister of science.
 
"The blame lies solely on political top and top judiciary, which, rather than in the service of the state and the rule of law, is clearly in the service of the ruling party," Rudovic said.
 
He explained that when it comes to the rule of law and the need for Montenegro to have an independent judiciary, it does not refer to the presidents of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, and other judicial officials.
 
"We are talking about the fact that the whole of Montenegro suffers from the fact that they act as servants of the ruling party and do not do their job. Everyone is taken care of, remember the apartment affair, and in what way and who is honored with apartments, some of them several times," said Rudovic.
 
As he said, Montenegro is suffering damage due to such behavior, and system that radically transforms the state and all its institutions into servants of the ruling party.
 
Asked how, given everything he said he sees the future of Montenegro's negotiations with the EU, he said that it depends on global trends and on the situation in the Union itself, as well as on the situation on the home ground.
 
The fact is, Rudovic said that Montenegro could not expect any progress unless it clears up "the situation in its backyard."
 
"There is no dilemma here. We are not a big country that can be as influential at the EU level as much as we would like, but we can do what is right for us. Why we don't do this, I think is completely clear - because those on whom it depends don't want it," Rudovic concluded.
 
Speaker of the Parliamentary Committee on European Integration and Democratic Front MP Slaven Radunovic said that the EU has stopped the process of integration of Montenegro, and that the balancing clause has been informally activated, but that it is not officially mentioned for political reasons.
 
08 Oct 2019, 02:45 AM

08 October 2019 - President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović is the recipient of the title of Honorary Member of the Mihai Eminescu Academy and the Foundation of the same name, which was presented to him by the President of the Academy, Ion Deaconescu, in front of the Executive Board.

Academy President Deaconescu congratulated President Đukanović on this recognition of political and social activism and the active role of the reformer of Montenegro. Delivering him the honorary member of the Academy and its symbol, the work of the famous sculptor Vincenzo Bianchi, Deaconescu said it was a great honour for them that the President accepted their initiative and recognition as a great politician who contributed to the peace, preservation, and affirmation of multiculturalism and multiethnicity. He praised the achievements of Montenegro and recalled the friendship of Montenegro and Romania, “small countries that can give Europe a lot”.

President Đukanović thanked Deaconescu for this important recognition and said that he was extremely privileged and honoured to be in the company of eminent members of this Academy, among whom there are Nobel and Herder Prize winners. Considering the reputation of this Academy, the honour belongs to the citizens of Montenegro, Đukanović said. He pointed to the special importance of preserving universal and traditional values, especially in times when they were put to the test in turbulent and challenging times, not only in Montenegro, but also on the European and global scene.

He agreed that relations between Montenegro and Romania are traditionally friendly, which is supported by the sincere and continuous support of Romania to Montenegro in the integration processes.

The interlocutors also exchanged views on the possibility of continuing the Njegoš-Eminescu poetry festival, which was first held in Podgorica last year.

The explanation of the decision of the Executive Board of the Academy, among other things, states that the title of Honorary Member is awarded to President Đukanović "in honour of his extraordinary engagement as a politician and humanist, in a susceptible period, marked by pain, conflict, poverty ... His Excellency is the promoter of the relationship of friendship and cooperation between Montenegro and Romania, whose centuries-old friendly relations have been strengthened by this support. We are convinced that the award of this academic title to Mr. President of Montenegro will contribute to the fruitful participation of both countries in creating a new humanism that is necessary for all of us," concludes the statement.

08 Oct 2019, 02:12 AM

08 October 2019 - The legal and institutional framework, which guarantees the independence of the judicial branch of Government in Montenegro, implies a high degree of responsibility for each judicial office holder individually. Citizens' expectation that prosecutors and judges should firmly protect the legal order of Montenegro is justified, and this is the only way to build trust in the judicial and prosecutorial organisation. Unless the responsibility of the judiciary is significantly strengthened, the citizens' concern for the overall success of the reforms will be justified. Therefore, the judiciary is obliged to respond to such challenges in a timely and efficient manner, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice of Montenegro Zoran Pažin said at a Western Balkans Justice Ministers conference which was recently held in Tirana, Albania.

During the conference, organised by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Albania and the Regional Cooperation Council, the Ministers of Justice, senior officials and experts in the field of the rule of law from the Western Balkans discussed the key challenges in meeting European standards, improving the rule of law and strengthening regional judicial cooperation.

DPM Pažin emphasised that the high degree of independence enjoyed by the judiciary in the Montenegrin government system carries a special responsibility for the impartial and independent performance of each prosecutor and judge individually. Only in this way can confidence in the justice system be built.

He recalled that the implementation of the previous judicial reform strategy, through the adoption of amendments to the Constitution and the improvement of legislation, significantly strengthened the independence of the Montenegrin judiciary. Pažin stressed that continued judicial reform remains Montenegro's priority in the European integration process, which the Government also confirmed by adopting the Strategy for the next three-year period.

"Increasing the efficiency of the judicial system will improve the quality of respect for human rights and the rule of law, while enhancing the accessibility and transparency of judicial institutions in the coming period should result in an adequate degree of citizens' confidence in the judiciary," Deputy Prime Minister Pažin noted.

The second, expert panel dedicated to the design, implementation and monitoring of judicial reform in the Region was addressed by Nikola B. Šaranović, Director General of the Directorate for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Justice. He recalled that in its conclusions on enlargement, stabilisation, and association, the EU Council noted that the institutional framework in Montenegro was complete and that the legal framework was largely established, and that it was crucial for the entire rule of law system to produce tangible and sustainable results.

Šaranović notably presented cooperation on European projects in the process of meeting the provisional benchmarks in Chapters 23 and 24, judicial cooperation with the countries of the Region, as well as the participation of Montenegrin institutions in the work of European judicial networks. He also reminded that Montenegro is the first candidate country to which the new approach in negotiations has been applied and that our country is ready to transfer the first-hand experience to other candidate countries from the Western Balkans.

07 Oct 2019, 21:06 PM

October 7, 2019 - Montenegro and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) have concluded an Agreement under which European police officers, along with Montenegrin police, will patrol along the state border. As reported, the European Union will provide Montenegro with expert training and expert assistance in border surveillance. 

The Agreement, signed in Luxembourg by Montenegrin Interior Ministers Mevludin Nuhodzic and Finland, currently EU Presidency, Maria Ohisalo, as well as European Commissioner for Internal Affairs and Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, regulates relations between the two sides and specified rights and obligations in dealing with security challenges, including illegal migration.
 
Nuhodzic said that the Agreement represents "the strengthening of successful and high-quality cooperation between Montenegro and the European Union in the field of border security."
 
"With this Agreement, we have opened a new chapter on border management and cross-border crime cooperation. More intensive cooperation between Montenegro and Frontex will enable us to respond more quickly and effectively to potential migration challenges. Safe and secure borders, which should remain open to the free movement of people and goods and, at the same time, protected from the activities of criminals. Such as illegal migration, organized crime, and terrorism. Only a well-protected and robust state border can guarantee the safety and security of both citizens in Montenegro and citizens across Europe," said Nuhodzic.
 
EU Commissioner Avramopoulos has called the conclusion of the agreement "an important achievement for both Montenegro and the EU," the Government said.
 
"This agreement is another step towards the full operationalization of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and marks another step forward in EU-partner cooperation with the Western Balkans. Montenegro is the second country in the region to sign such an operation after the operation launched in Albania earlier this year, which has already yielded positive results," Avramopolos said.
 
Ohisalo said this Agreement is further evidence of deepening and expanding cooperation (EU) with Montenegro and will bring benefits to both parties, especially in controlling migration flows, combating illegal migration and cross-border crime, including migrant smuggling, trafficking, and terrorism.
 
"More broadly, we are convinced that this Status Agreement will enhance cooperation with the entire Western Balkans region, which the European Union considers to be one of its priorities. The negotiations are conducted in a good cooperation spirit and in a constructive way that characterizes our relations," Ohisalo said.
 
Source: gov.me
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