11 June 2019 - The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), under its Tourism Development and Promotion EU funded project, launched the second consecutive grant call for projects developing the tourism offer in the Western Balkans on June 10. As stated in their 2nd Call for Proposals, while the grants scheme totals EUR 1.62 million, this second tranche is making available EUR 750,000 for the implementation of some 14 pilot projects worth up to EUR 54,000.
The goal of the RCC's grant scheme is to develop and globally promote the joint regional cultural and adventure tourism offer, bring more visitors to the Western Balkans, lengthen their stay and increase revenues and employment in the tourism industry. Therefore, the grants to be implemented under the 2nd Call for Proposals will be geared towards the improvement of tourism infrastructure and services along three new regional cultural tourism routes now under development: Western Balkans – Crossroads of Civilisations; Illyricum Trail and Balkan Monumental Trail, and along Via and Trans Dinarica, regional hiking and biking routes and their auxiliary adventure tourism attractions.
“The region is stronger together. This is as true for tourism as is for any other fields. The difference is that tourism has an advantage of growing faster than other industries – it already accounts for 14% of employment in the Western Balkans. More than 12 million tourists entered the region last year. This is why we are intensively working on the development of a joint regional tourism offer and further supplementing efforts of the governments specifically in the cultural and adventure tourism niches,” said Majlinda Bregu, RCC Secretary General.
“Our goals are simple. We want to create a more attractive tourism offer which will attract more tourists to the region and lead to bigger profits and more people being employed in tourism. While our Tourism Development and Promotion Project works on the big picture, the grant scheme is making it possible for local level governments, NGOs and development agencies to get involved in tourism and contribute to the development of a joint regional offer by implementing actions that will improve the quality of services and tourism infrastructure at the local level,” stated Secretary General Bregu.
To provide sufficient information about the 2nd Call for Proposals to all interested parties, between 12 and 20 June 2019 the RCC will organize a series of Info Days covering all six Western Balkans Economies.
This is the 2nd Call for Proposals under the RCC’s tourism grants scheme.
The 1st Call for Proposals implemented between July 2018 and June 2019 resulted in the implementation of twelve grants in a total value of EUR 548,000 which led to the creation of preconditions for development of seven new cultural routes in the region, as well as the implementation of actions that upgraded the quality of the adventure tourism offer, specifically along Via Dinarica trail and in equestrian tourism.
The 3rd call for proposal is expected to be launched in September 2019.
Read more about tourism in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
11 June 2019 - The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro recently stated that the goals of the state related to sustainable development - regionally balanced and sustainable economic development, full employment and decent work for all, should be fulfilled by 2030.
"Our sincere intention is to achieve the vision of sustainable development of Montenegro by 2030, which means that we should achieve regionally balanced and sustainable economic development, full employment and decent work for all," Minister Pavle Radulović said at the opening of the 18th Session of the Mediterranean Commission for the Sustainable development.
Within the framework of the two-year presidency of the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development, Montenegro is the host of the session which is held from 11 to 13 June 2019.
The 18th Session of the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable development is hosted at the Maestral Hotel in Budva.
During his presentation, Radulović reminded the participants that by adopting the 2030 National Sustainable Development Strategy, Montenegro became one of the first countries in the world that fully accepted and integrated the requirements of the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development into the national system. The goal of this strategy is to build a society based on continuous, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, protecting natural resources and strengthening social inclusion. Radulović also pointed out that with this strategy, Montenegro shows that its method for achieving sustainable development of its society is, in fact, having an objective and critical point of view in regards to current issues and finding appropriate solutions to these issues.
Minister Radulović highlighted that it is of great importance to launch initiatives that should concretize practical approaches and actions in order to implement the activities of the Mediterranean Action Plan and the Mediterranean Commission in the upcoming period. Also, he pointed out that an important measure for sustainable development is the creation of optimal practical models for applying the principles of integrated coastal management, in synergy with the application of the ecosystem approach in the planning of the purpose of marine areas.
Mediterranean Commission acts as an advisory body to the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention, and its members, participating on equal footing, include representatives of the Member States and the European Commission, as well as Civil Society representatives from the region’s local authorities, economic partners (chambers of commerce, etc.), environmental NGOs, etc. It is basically a think tank on policies for promoting sustainable development in the Mediterranean Basin and focuses on key issues in its drive for tangible outcomes.
Read more about Politics in Montenegro on TMN's dedicated page.
08 June 2019 - Montenegro is a safe investment destination and investors from more than 100 countries have confirmed this fact. Our country is one of the most attractive investment destinations in the Mediterranean, especially in the field of tourism, real estate, energy and agriculture, said Montenegro’s ex-president, Filip Vujanović, at China-Central and Eastern European Countries Expo in Ningbo.
The China-Central and Eastern European Countries Expo opened Saturday in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province. As reported by XinhuaNet, the expo that put focus on "deepening opening-up and cooperation for mutual benefit," attracted over 6,700 buyers from more than 500 firms and other leading international enterprises in 22 different countries and regions.
Speaking at the Ningbo Forum, Montenegro’s ex-president, Filip Vujanović highlighted that Montenegro is one of the most attractive investment destinations in the Mediterranean. “I have great respect toward this Fair of Investment and Trade, and I see it as a strong contribution to the improvement of cooperation between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. It is a special honor to present Montenegro as a safe and attractive investment destination with economic parameters that confirm this title ”,Mr Vujanović’s said during his speech.
As reported by Vujanović's office, he also noted that Montenegro and China have excellent relations that have been improved in recent years through the 16 + 1 Mechanism and the Road Initiative. “Montenegro recently started the construction of a highway linking the Adriatic coast with Serbia and Central and Western Europe. This largest infrastructure project in the history of Montenegro is being realized with CRBC. The Government of Montenegro continuously works on creating the preconditions for the continuation of the construction of other sections of the highway. We encourage Chinese companies to show interest in this project through public-private partnerships, “said Vujanović, inviting the present investors to a potential partnership with Montenegro.
Pointing out to the importance of trade, he also emphasized the potentials of the Port of Bar, being a significant maritime and transport center with valuable references. Moreover, former Montenegro’s president touched on many investments in the field of tourism.
“Fully realizing the importance of investment and trade for overall development, I invite you to visit Montenegro. I am convinced that we will continue our joint efforts towards high quality cooperation, “concluded Vujanović.
The expo, scheduled to close on June 12, includes over 20 events such as the image exhibition of Eastern European countries and the European commodity exhibition.
According to China's Ministry of Commerce, the total trade volume between China and Central and Eastern European countries reached 28.55 billion U.S. dollars in the first four months this year, up 7.9 percent year on year.
Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
08 June 2019 - The first segment of the project Creative Visegrad - a multimedia image of V4+ cities and states was recently held in Budva, reports the local government of this city.
The Municipality of Budva, in cooperation with partners from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, is implementing the project entitled Creative Visegrad - a multimedia image of V4+ cities and states, which is approved within the framework of Visegrad + fund. As explained by the local government of the Czech city Valašské Meziříčí, this purpose of this project is to enhance the awareness about common identity among the V4 member states and Montenegro.
Thirty-two young people from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Montenegro were introduced to each other through intercultural exchange, and during the summer they will work hard on short films that will be screened at the Festival of Lights (Signal Festival) in Czech Republic in September. The workshop, which represents the first phase of the project, was held in Budva, June 3 - June 6, 2019.
The workshop was intended for young people who are interested in discovering a common cultural identity with Montenegro and Budva, together with their peers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hunagry, and who are willing to create a short film about this subject.
The main challenge of the project is a lack of knowledge in younger generation both the V4 states and the Balkan states. This region has a generous diversity of culture identity, history and tradition. The project has a goal to make a new connection among youth and with creative way of presentation, to express differences to the large audience. The main challenge is to address accessibility and cooperation among nations. One of the main ideas is sharing the cultural diversity of all participants and creating proof that their homelands are open-minded and accessible. Since this region has a diverse cultural identity, history and tradition, the project aims to creatively create a new relationship among young people and present it to the general public.
This project also focuses on sharing knowledge in specific multimedia area – creating short movies, because each project partner has a different attitude and uses different techniques to create film content. This program’s aim is sharing of know-how in context in using short videos to express the participants’ cultural identity.
Within the project Creative Visegrad, another workshop and festival will be held in the town of Valašské Meziříčí, in the Czech Republic.
The Visegrad Group, Visegrad Four, or V4 is a cultural and political alliance of four Central European states – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia that are members of the European Union (EU) and NATO – for the purposes of advancing military, cultural, economic and energy cooperation with one another along with furthering their integration in the EU.
Festival of Lights, where the short films created within the project will be shown, is one of the most visited events in Prague that attracts thousands of tourists and locals with its fantastic light shows. Signal Festival represents a traditional event with amazing live dynamic performances of light and sound.
06 June 2019 - President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović received the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Italy Elisabetta Trenta, who is on an official visit to Montenegro. Trenta recently met with Prime Minister of Montenegro, Duško Marković.
President Đukanović thanked the minister for visiting Montenegro, which represents a new and especially important impulse for further improvement of the interstate relations between Montenegro and Italy. The additional value of the visit is and, as the President said, that this visit happened at the same time when Montenegro celebrate an important jubilee of 140 years of establishing diplomatic relations marked last night in Cetinje in the building of the former Italian mission. Đukanović expressed great satisfaction with the quality of interstate cooperation and emphasized that Montenegro is very proud of the tradition of relations between Montenegro and Italy.
He emphasized the importance of Italy's support to the European and Euro-Atlantic perspectives of the region, which is particularly important in order to overcome the multi-year lag of the WB for a developed Europe.
"Aware of missed opportunities in recent history as well as internal crises in the EU, we continue to believe that the only prospect for this region is integration, and for Europe to continue unification and strengthen its global competitiveness," as noted in an official report by President of Montenegro Cabinet.
Stressing that Montenegro is a NATO and EU partner, the President paid special gratitude to Italy for supporting that country's membership of Montenegro to NATO. At the same time, he also pointed to the importance of the alliance within the Alliance, because Italy together with Greece preserves the airspace of Montenegro, as well as defense cooperation, which is reflected in support for training officers in the prestigious Italian schools.
In the context of exceptionally good bilateral relations, the President assessed that there is a significant area for improving economic cooperation on the basis of positive experience through submarine cable projects and underwater exploration of oil and gas.
"With the pleasure of opening a Confindustria branch in Montenegro, an even greater presence of Italian investors is extremely desirable, not only because of investing in Montenegro, but primarily because of the transfer of European standards, new technologies and management knowledge," Đukanović said
The Minister of Defense of the Republic of Italy conveyed to President Đukanović the greetings from President Mattarella and expressed her gratitude for showing respect to her country by attending the celebration of the Day of Italy in Cetinje.
"Friendship has existed for a long time, but it is always good to have a new friendship gesture," Trenta said.
Recalling Italy's support to Montenegro for joining NATO, the minister stressed that with the great impression that country remains with Montenegro on its way to the EU. Integration is also very important because of the need for a common response to contemporary challenges, Trenta said, stressing that Italy's position towards the Balkans is very clear, both in terms of supporting the integration of Western Balkan countries, as well as meeting the criteria for membership.
The interlocutors agreed that while meeting the requirements for EU membership, it is extremely important to take advantage of the momentum and further strengthen the partnership of NATO and EU countries, which rests on the strongest basis, the Euro-Atlantic system of values. Extending cooperation in the field of defense and intensifying economic ties will undoubtedly contribute to better cooperation within NATO, but also to help to transfer knowledge in which Italy wants to participate.
Read more about politics in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.
04 June 2019 - President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović received the Assistant Secretary General of UN and Regional Director of UNDP for Europe and the Community of Independent States Mirjana Spoljarić Egger.
President Đukanović welcomed and congratulated her on the recent appointment as the regional director with the wishes for success during the mandate. He expressed satisfaction with her visit to the region and Montenegro as an incentive for future cooperation with UNDP and the upgrading of the partnership relationship. He assessed that Montenegro has many reasons for mutual satisfaction, and that in the past period the expert and overall support of UNDP, which was always in the function of democratic development of Montenegro and realization of foreign policy priorities, was very well used.
On the trail of commitment to co-operation with the UN, the President expressed support for the reform processes of Secretary-General Guterres and Montenegro's intention to continue contributing to the implementation of all the tasks of reform, starting with the preservation of peace until the goals of the 2030 agenda are achieved.
"Activities that are in focus UN and UNDP are to a large extent consistent with the development strategy of Montenegro and the process of joining the European Union," Đukanović said, adding that Montenegro remains open to considering and further organizing the organizational structure in line with the new organization of the actions from UN System in the country as the best way to respond to the complexity of the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Strategy and the Agenda 2030.
In conversation with the Regional Director of UNDP, the President reminded that the main priorities of state policy remain further democratization of society and intensive economic development, and in this context, the importance of presence and improvement of cooperation with UNDP and the UN system as a whole is clearly recognized.
Regional Director of UNDP Mirjana Spoljarić Egger expressed satisfaction with her arrival in Montenegro and meeting with President Đukanović, highlighting excellent cooperation with Montenegrin state and local authorities at all levels.
"The UN reform is an opportunity for even better quality work, a better focus on the substance of the UNDP mandate and strengthening ties with the government," Spoljarić said.
She added that UNDP remains committed to further support through regional policy investments that are relevant to the region, in particular in the direction of institution building, support to institutional reforms and further greening of the economy that will ensure sustainable growth.
"With dedication, you can represent an example of nationalization of the Agenda 2030 in the region," said Spoljarić.
The Regional Director of UNDP reminded that the Agenda offers the opportunity to speed up the EU accession plan, while achieving sustainable development that will benefit the country. In this context, UNDP remains fully open to continue advocating and supporting Montenegro as a candidate for EU membership, a member of the United Nations and a significant factor of regional stability in the future.