April 15, 2019 - The Organizing Committee of the Civic Movement #ODUPRISE last weekend organized a tour of 11 Montenegrin cities to spread the idea of the movement in direct conversation with citizens and mobilize them to join the movement in designing and conducting actions aimed at overthrowing Milo Djukanovic's regime.
Odupri Se, Mojkovac
Odupri Se, Šavnik
April 15, 2019 - Several hundred citizens gathered on Sunday, 14 April in the Arms Square in Kotor at a protest gathering "Who is handing over Kotor?. The protest is against the shift of Mayor Vladimir Jokic (Democrats). They called on the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to give up its initiative for his resignation until the creation of conditions for fair and free elections.
With harsh disapproval and whistles on each mention of the party and its members, demonstrators have called on the SDP to fulfill its obligations in the ruling coalition with the Democrats, the DF, the URA, and the SNP. Protestors called SDP constituents to cease to sabotage the work of the majority in the local parliament, which Ranko Krivokapić's party has been doing for months now.
Otherwise, as heard at the meeting, the citizens of Kotor and the rest of the local governmental councilors believe that the SDP opened a coalition with the opposition DPS, SD, and HGI in that city and thus overlapped the electoral will of citizens from the last local elections in 2016. Acting this way, SDP also fails its signature on the recently-concluded Future Agreement with the rest of the opposition and organizers of civil protests #ODUPRISE.
SDP had formally launched the Jokić dismissal initiative ten days ago, accusing him of being autocratic, failing to meet strategic development plans and causing damage to Kotor. Their effort was supported by the DPS, SD and HGI delegates, and a session of the Assembly that is scheduled for their request, which will address the issue of trust to the Mayor, is scheduled for 24 April.
Mayor of Kotor, Vladimir Jokic and the president of Democrats, Aleksa Becic, Photo by Sinisa Lukovic
An informal group of citizens organized Sunday's protest against the intentions of SDP, DPS, SD, and HGI to rid Jokić, and support was provided by numerous activists of the movement "97,000 - Odupri Se".
The leader of Democrats, Aleksa Becic and the party functionaries Boris Bogdanovic and Danilo Saranovic, President od Crnogorska Vladimir Pavićević, mayor of Herceg Novi Stevan Katić (Democrats), Deputy Prime Minister of Kotor, Mišo Samardžić (PzP), President of Kotor Parliament and President DSS Dragica Perovic and numerous civic and NGO activists attended the protest. There were also members of the SNP headed by the former delegation of that party at the Montenegrin Assembly Snežana Jonica.
Among the citizens of the Arms Square were some of the members and functionaries of the Kotor SDP: Mladen Lučić, the current director of the Utility Company, the president of the Women's Forum SDP Kotor Jelena Milić, vice-president of the Women's Forum SDP Kotor Danijela Vidović.
Speaking to the gathering, Perovic said that the session of the local parliament on April 24 will not be the Assembly for which they voted and who expressed the will of the citizens from October 2016, for which the attendees invited them to the square to declare whether they are for or against the shifts Mayor of Jokic.
"I find that the proposal for the dissolution of the President of the Municipality of Kotor has been strongly rejected," Perovic said following the crowds presenting support for Jokić and the rejection of the SDP initiative.
The president of the Assembly of Kotor, Dragica Perovic, Photo by Sinisa Lukovic
"All of your efforts to end the election of thefts, intimidation, pressures, and political corruption, have resulted in the withdrawal from the Montenegrin regime in Kotor. Who is trying to bring that cremated ghost back to the political scene? Who wants to go to Kotor? Is our memory so short that we have forgotten everything they did - all the damage, all the lawlessness, the devastation of our environment and our lives, and which individuals are trying to rehabilitate in the last half of the year?"Perovic said, pointing out that "the time of the carnival has passed, so the political masks in Kotor should drop."
"The obsession that has been following us for the last thirty years is a great burden for each of us, especially for our children, our youth that is happy, prosperous, and humane," said Milica Ilic, one of the organizers of the civil protest.
"I sincerely believe in the love and dedication of Vladimir Jokic to Kotor. That's why I'm here today. I want to save the forces, the will, and the character of Kotor, a bastion of freedom, for our children and us," she said.
Dr. Goran Jovanovic (Timur Tmurni), Deputy of Democrats in the Assembly of Kotor, poet, satirist, and musician reminded that citizens of Kotor recently burned this year's carnival Tranjo Djudice Montanaro, who alluded to the leader of SDP Ranko Krivokapić.
"In this kind of Montenegro, politics is reduced to infinite obstructions, raids, blackmails, attempts to take you back to the barracks; to be with them in the same mud. They are constantly knocking on their chests, calling for everlasting consistency, repeated phrases that differ from promises and acts, and support the survival of collective amnesia and collective madness," Jovanovic said, and added that "the biggest devastator of Kotor's mafia and thug regime Don Milo Corleone Djukanovic, his satellites and partners in holding a thief bag."
"Some still keep the sack, and some have kept it for a while, so maybe again," said Jovanovic, adding that "Kotor is undone and wounded, abandoned by many worthy and disappointed, but still has the power to resist and will resist."
Source: Sinisa Lukovic/ Boka News
14 April 2019 - Hungarian Ambassador to Montenegro József Négyesi estimated that it is realistic for Montenegro to become a full member of the European Union by 2025.
The Ambassador said that Hungary follows the political developments in the Western Balkans with special attention and that the dangers of slowing down the integration process are completely clear to them.
“That's why we advocate that the European Union, and also the members themselves, despite the numerous existing challenges, make the decisions necessary to accelerate the integration of the countries of the region as soon as possible", said Hungarian Ambassador to Montenegro József Négyesi in an interview with Pobjeda daily.
He pointed out that there is significant progress in fulfilling the preconditions for Chapter 23: Judiciary and fundamental rights and Chapter 24: Justice, freedom and security.
Asked whether he notices that there is a delay in EU enlargement policy, he says that Hungary's position on this issue is clear. "It's never enough to emphasize that enlargement is a process that represents the road to a united and stronger Europe, whose intensity and efficiency, however, is subject to change," Négyesi said.
If the situation continues to develop as in the past, the Ambassador believes that the year 2025 represents the real deadline for the accession of Montenegro to the European Union.
"The accession to the European Union, above all, depends on the readiness and effort of Montenegro. My previous experience tells me that Montenegro does not lack political determination or professional knowledge. Therefore, according to my assessment, if Montenegro maintains the current tempo of preparation, it can become a full member of the EU by 2025, "he said.
According to Ambassador Négyesi, the Hungarian Government aims to provide all available support to Montenegro in the interest of faster accession to the EU, and at this moment two Hungarian EU experts work in Podgorica to assist the Montenegrin Government in the process of EU integration.
In regards to cooperation between the two countries, the Ambassador said that the key area for strengthening relations is the economy, especially agriculture.
"Thanks to excellent political relations and a favourable investment climate, Hungary has indeed become one of the largest investors in Montenegro since the restoration of Montenegro's independence. The total value of foreign direct foreign investments from Hungary to Montenegro over the past decade exceeded 500 million euros," Négyesi said.
The Ambassador also assessed that Hungarian companies are satisfied with the business climate in Montenegro. The most important Hungarian investors include OTP Bank and Hunguest Hotels, which have had positive experiences in Montenegro. This is evidenced by the fact that most of the present Hungarian companies are planning to expand their activities in Montenegro, and Négyesi hopes that this will result in new Hungarian investments and the arrival of new Hungarian companies to Montenegro.
April 14, 2019 - Protest of support for President of Kotor Municipality Vladimir Jokić will be held on Sunday at 11.55 am at the Arms Square in the Old town of Kotor. A protest call titled "Who is handing over Kotor?" on the social network Facebook sent a group of citizens called Kontrafor.
13 April 2019 - Italian Air Force Eurofighter aircraft were launched for the first time to execute a NATO Air Policing mission over Montenegro.
In the morning of 9 April 2019 Italian Air Force Eurofighter based at Gioia del Colle Air Base some 20 km south of Bari, Italy, was launched by NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejon, Spain. The mission was to intercept a civilian airliner that lost communications with civilian air traffic control over Croatia and was heading south towards Montenegro and Albania.
Two Eurofighter aircraft who are on alert to protect NATO airspace over Italy, Albania and Montenegro under the auspices of the Alliance, successfully intercepted the aircraft only a few minutes later. The Eurofighter pilots a visual check of the aircraft to rule out illegal action, technical or any other issues.
It was established that the loss of communications was related to a misunderstanding between civilian air traffic control and the airliner crew. After resuming regular contact with the civilian controllers, the airliner continued to proceed to its destination in Hurghada, Egypt.
Allied Air Command is in charge of all Air and Space matters from northern Norway to southern Italy and from the Azores to eastern Turkey. All missions support NATO’s strategic concepts of Collective Defence, Crisis Management and Cooperative Security.
Source: NATO Allied Air Command
13 April 2019 - The first section of the Bar Boljare motorway will be completed in the middle of next year and this deadline will be met, Chairman of the Chinese company CCCC Liu Qitao promised at a meeting with Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković in Dubrovnik. Vice President of CCCC Wen Gang and President of the CRBC Lu Shan and their associates also attended the meeting.
Prime Minister Marković emphasised the importance of the project for the overall development of Montenegro and stressed that the works must be completed within the defined deadline.
"The motorway connects the country and encourages the development of all sectors of the economy. Furthermore, at this stage, we have indirect investments in agriculture, tourism, and other areas," PM Marković said to representatives of CCCC, one of the world's 500 richest companies and among the largest in the world for designing and building roads. CRBC, which builds the first motorway section in Montenegro, is a subsidiary of CCCC.
The high-quality completion of works on the priority section, Prime Minister Marković pointed out, is the capital for everyone and it will open cooperation possibilities for projects in the future. Both sides agreed that it is a project of two countries, which will be a symbol of friendship between Montenegro and China.
Liu said that his CCCC company successfully works around the world and can work on several other projects in Montenegro.
Prime Minister Marković said that the options for cooperation in different areas would be considered in the coming period.
"Our economy has grown at a rate of over 4.7 percent over the past two years, and a significant generator of such growth is the construction of the motorway. I want to provide these growth rates for a longer period, and for that, we need credible partners and private capital," the Prime Minister highlighted.
12 April 2019 - We consider the cooperation of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe with China within the 16+1 Mechanism as successful and significant and it has potentials that should be used, Prime Minister Duško Marković said in Dubrovnik.
At the Eighth Summit of Heads of Governments of Central and Eastern European Countries and the People's Republic of China, PM Marković pointed to significant economic parameters of development and stressed that Montenegro is committed to fulfilling the European agenda, adding that it is conducting advanced negotiations with the EU.
"As a country that joins the EU, we are following the strategic dialogue and cooperation between the EU and China with diligence and appreciation," the Prime Minister said.
He recalled that a significant part of Montenegro's development policy is based on the improvement of infrastructure and connectivity, direct foreign investments, development of energy based on renewable sources, tourism, agriculture, and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.
"We consider cooperation in these fields within 16+1 as valuable and significant," Prime Minister Marković stressed.
Talking about infrastructure and connectivity, the Prime Minister emphasized the Port of Bar. The potential of this strategic resource of Montenegro should be used and available for trade exchange between Europe and Asia, i.e., the EU and China.
"This port represents a huge economic and investment opportunity and can be a very usable maritime and traffic hub in achieving goals in what we recognised in the "Dubrovnik Guidelines "- the importance of the "Belt and Road" initiative and the EU Strategy for Connecting Europe and Asia and increasing synergy among them," the Prime Minister of Montenegro emphasised.
Furthermore, he referred to the most important infrastructure project in Montenegro, the completion of the first section of the motorway, which we are implementing with Chinese partners. The Prime Minister said that we are in the final stage of construction of this segment and that the Government of Montenegro creates the preconditions for a quick continuation of the development of the motorway, towards the border with Serbia.
Alongside the current works on the priority section, PM Marković added, we intensified the activities to begin the implementation of the following two sections, for which, through the Investment Framework for the Western Balkans, grants have been provided for EUR 5.49 million. This money is intended for development of preliminary projects and report on accompanying environmental impacts, and the implementation of these activities is in progress.
"Let this be an invitation to companies from your countries to express their interest in the implementation of this project in partnership with the Government of Montenegro through the model of private-public partnership, as we have the interest of Chinese companies," the Prime Minister said.
He thanked the participating countries for supporting the initiative of the Ministry of Culture of Montenegro to discuss the possibility of opening 16+1 creative industries hub in Montenegro.
"The main goal of this initiative is to create conditions for the work and accommodation of artists from 16+1 countries, which will enable them to create new creative products within a kind of residential platform in one of the Montenegrin cities, in an inspiring atmosphere of exchanging ideas and cooperation," Prime Minister Marković said.
The Heads of the Governments of CEEC and China welcomed the cooperation achieved so far through the 16+1 Mechanism and expressed strong interest in continuing and strengthening mutual relations. Particular emphasis was placed on the importance of collaboration in the fields of energy, infrastructure, transport, tourism, as well as finance and digitization.
President of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Li Keqiang, with whom Prime Minister Marković will meet later today, said that the importance of cooperation within 16+1, and especially collaboration between the EU and China, was confirmed. He expressed the belief that cooperation within 16+1 will contribute to a greater balance of development in Europe and that a target of 100 billion dollars in trade exchange will be achieved by next year.
Greece was greeted at the gathering as a new full participant in the Mechanism of Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Europe.
April 12, 2019 - Activists of the Odupri Se 97,000 Movement held a performance yesterday, 11 April, in front of the State Prosecutor's Office building in Podgorica to protest after Wednesday's blockade of CEDIS and EPCG buildings when strangers faced some of the protesters.
April 12, 2019 - In 1989 he was one of the youngest leaders in Europe. Thirty years later, Milo Djukanovic, Montenegro's president, still young at just 57 years of age, was in power as president, prime minister or head of the ruling party, longer than anyone in Europe. The British magazine "The Economist," writes "Montenegrin monarch: Why Milo Djukanovic is Europe's Most Durable Ruler" on April 11.
Montenegrins born in the 40s remember the time before Djukanovic. Other European leaders want to know what the secret of his success is, but he says there is no simple explanation.
On his wall is the portrait of King Nicholas, who was abolished in 1918 after 58 years. Djukanovic does not want to be compared to him, though there may be no choice.
Over the last nine Sundays, thousands of people went to the streets of Podgorica asking for Djukanovic's resignation. The president of Montenegro is, however, not anxious.
In 2016, there was a conspiracy target, which was financed by Russia, in the desire to kill him, and now the Russians are making problems again.
"This is ordinary nonsense," Dejan Mijovic, an opposition politician, said through laughter.
"Democracy in Montenegro is fake, and Djukanovic holds all the levers of power, and now he has to go," Mijovic said.
The Montenegrin united opposition received additional energy thanks to the accusations of the former tycoon who now resides in London.
Since January, Duško Knežević, a former friend of Djukanovic, published information that he hopes to overthrow President of Montenegro.
He described the pattern of corruption throughout the state, and he even released a video that shows that he contributes illegally to Djukanovic's electoral campaign (the Envelope Affair).
Djukanovic said that the case was solved, but that everything else Knezevic is telling is lies of a fugitive from justice (Knežević is suspected of "money laundering").
Knezevic admitted that he violated the law on campaign contributions, but added that it was the only way for someone to deal with a business in a country where Djukanovic recruited and kept everything under control.
However, the affair of Duško Knežević and opposition demonstrations take place, Djukanovic's political survival is remarkable.
In 1989, Djukanovic was a protégé of Slobodan Milosevic, then a Serb leader. But as Milosevic faced a defeat in the war over Kosovo, Djukanovic turned to advocate the reconstruction of Montenegro's independence, lost in 1918 when Yugoslavia was created.
It started in 2006 when it managed to create a rarity in the Balkans - a multiethnic state.
Djukanovic said that he was trying to withdraw from power, but that a new assignment would always be dropped.
Montenegro joined NATO alliances in 2017. In Montenegro, there has never been a change of power in the elections.
Fearing the influence of Russia, Western leaders seem not to be in the mood to try to kill the "cunning" Djukanovic to retreat.
Between 1696 and 1918, Montenegro had seven leaders, who ruled for 32 years on average. One of the secrets of their success was a good balance between opposing clans.
Asked whether the situation in the Montenegrin society is the same, Djukanovic has briskly responded that, unlike previous leaders, he was elected by the citizens.
A recent survey has shown that as many as 71 percent of Montenegrin citizens want the leader to be "strong and determined".
The secret of Djukanovic's success is clientelism.
One official of the ruling party claimed in 2012 that in a snapshot (the "Snimak" affair - an example of the news section of the "Vijesti" portal) four votes in the elections for the ruling party were secured on every single employee in the public sector.
Still, the last demonstrations show that many people are saturated with Đukanović.
"There has been a change of political atmosphere in recent years," analyst Daliborka Uljarević said. Anyone who dares to criticize the work of the Government risks being labeled as an enemy of the state by pro-government media, just as it was the case of Uljarevic.
The political atmosphere is poisonous, and the ruling party and its allies control only 42 out of 81 seats in parliament.
The tycoons from Azerbaijan, Russia, Malaysia, and the UAE have purchased properties and developed a luxury coastal resorts, but many in the country feel that only a small group of people around Djukanovic has been enriched, while the rest are living with low income and poor public services.
Writer Somerset Mogam once called the French Riviera a "sunny place for suspect people". According to “The Economist,” this could be said for Montenegro.
11 April 2019 - Prime Minister Duško Marković met with Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković in Dubrovnik for talks on bilateral relations and boosting economic cooperation.
"We discussed how to further improve bilateral relations, maintain a high level of political dialogue, but also upgrade economic cooperation within the region," said Prime Minister Marković, who is taking part in the Eighth Summit of Heads of Governments of Central and Eastern Europe Countries and the People's Republic of China, taking place in Dubrovnik.
The Prime Minister stressed that he agreed with the Croatian Prime Minister that during this year, within the preparation for taking over the presidency of the Council of the European Union, Prime Minister Plenković will visit Montenegro and that all the options related to the Western Balkans and its progress towards the EU, which Croatia could have in its agenda during the presidency, will be discussed.
"We also discussed some conditionally outstanding issues. We agreed that these are not issues that are unsolvable, but that we need to tackle them in the short term and show the ability to be responsible and able to solve outstanding issues and not archive them," the Prime Minister told the press following his meeting with Prime Minister Plenković, adding that in the future he expects further progress in bilateral relations in all fields.
When asked by reporters about his expectations of the 16+1 Summit, Prime Minister Marković said that Montenegro's position was based on very good political relations with China.
"Within this process, we also discuss cooperation in the field of economy and infrastructure development. You know that we are almost in the final phase of the construction of the first section of the motorway in Montenegro. I will emphasise during my meeting with Prime Minister Li Keqiang on the following day the importance of this project and the significance of completing this project by mid-2020," the Prime Minister of Montenegro noted.
"The continuation of cooperation on the motorway construction, as we have already received an offer from the CRBC, according to the model of private-public partnership, will be discussed as well," PM Marković stated.
"It is my great pleasure that within this Summit, and supported by other Summit participants, we will be able to discuss the establishment of a creative hub in Montenegro for all members, which is very important in terms of cultural cooperation, innovation," Prime Minister Marković noted.
He added that these are all issues that will be part of the Summit agenda, stressing that he has significant expectations of the Summit.
11 April 2019 - Although it does not have large military capacities, Montenegro is very important for NATO, because it is a role model, primarily for the region, and it can offer its expertise to countries of the region, such as Northern Macedonia, Romania's Foreign Minister Teodor Meleskan told Portal RTCG.
Romanian Minister of Defense Gabriel Les told the Public Services Portal that Montenegro should learn from Romania's example and aspire to a stronger cohesion with NATO.
"Solidarity idea is NATO's heritage. It gathers large and small countries, but they all have the same guarantees of peace and security. Montenegro contributes, as well as everyone, within the limits of its possibilities," Meleskan emphasized, strongly urging further expansion of the alliance, and hoping that Northern Macedonia will become a member.
As he pointed out, the Alliance is a political-military alliance, and it is not just a matter of security.
"It is committed to freedom, democracy, human rights and prosperity of the member states," Maleskan explained.
Prime Ministers of Montenegro and Romania, Duško Marković and Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă, recently agreed in Bucharest that the two countries have established friendly relations and partnership in NATO, that both aim to deepen economic cooperation, and that the successful completion of European accession of Montenegro and the continuation of European integration of other Western Balkan countries is the best framework for the stability of this part of Europe.
The meeting was concluded as the prime ministers announced concrete steps in terms of economic cooperation, including a meeting of the mixed commission of the two countries and the organisation of an economic forum that would bring together business communities of Montenegro and Romania. Agriculture, energy and tourism are recognised as concrete areas of cooperation. Direct cooperation within NATO was agreed in several areas.