Politics

07 May 2020, 14:42 PM
May 7, 2020 - The EU-Western Balkans Summit was held via video link on Wednesday, hosted by the President of the Council of Europe, Charles Michel, Prime Minister of Croatia, currently presiding over the EU, Andrej Plenkovic, and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. The main topics of the conference gathering leaders of the Western Balkans and top EU officials were the fight against the coronavirus and the European future of the region.
 
Leaders of the six Western Balkan countries and EU member countries have been discussing issues related to cooperation in the fight with the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences. The participants also accepted the Zagreb Declaration. As stated in the lead of the document, the Declaration is another confirmation of the EU's "strong solidarity with our partners in the context of the coronavirus crisis.
 
High ranking Addressing the group, President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, said that Brussels's help and support proved that the EU's solidarity didn't stop at its borders and that this was a testament to European unity. He stressed that the Balkans shouldn't be left to third parties. Djukanovic also said it was time for the EU to assume a new position on the global scene, through strengthening stability and finishing the process of European enlargement.
 
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that the EU was ready to support reform and the EU integration efforts of its neighboring countries. The Croatian government said that the EU would support the six Western Balkan countries in the fight against Covid-19 and that the European Commission (EC) was preparing a significant economic aid package, which will coincide with Western Balkan country progress reports.
 
The President of the Council of Europe, Charles Michel, stressed that it was important for the countries of the region to continue with reforms, the strengthening of the rule of law, adherence to democratic values and the fight against corruption, which he said was crucial for the Western Balkans' European future.
06 May 2020, 16:51 PM
May 6, 2020 - Montenegro and Serbia, for the first time since 2003, are not democratic states, the report of the "Transition Countries" report by the non-governmental organization Freedom House, a document that explores and describes the governance of 29 countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, reports Voice of America.
 
In the 2020 report, Montenegro and Serbia are categorized as transition governments or hybrid regimes - in which power is grounded in authoritarianism as a result of incomplete democratic change.
 
Such a government, in one state, can simultaneously carry out political repression and call elections.
 
"Albania, Serbia, and Montenegro have seen the most significant decline – considering all Balkan countries, while Serbia and Montenegro have regressed in the fight against corruption. There is no effective action in response to high-level corruption cases, and there are instances of dissolution of institutions and reluctance to act to counteract corruption effectively, "Michael Smeltzer from Freedom House told the Voice of America.
 
The report covers 29 countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the former Communist bloc, classifying them into five categories: consolidated democracies, semi-consolidated democracies, transitional or hybrid regimes, semi-consolidated authoritarian regimes, and consolidated authoritarian regimes.
 
When it comes to Montenegro, Michael Smeltzer, a Freedom House researcher, tells Voice of America that the problems are most evident in the judiciary.
 
"Negative trends and shortcomings in independent work have been reported in this area. In this regard, researchers have noted the worrying cases of scandal in the judiciary and the prosecution. The concern is further intensified by the fact that the mandate of members of the Judicial Council expires, "Smeltzer said.
 
Also, the report analyzes problems in the Montenegrin parliamentary practice.
 
"In 2016, members of the opposition refused to participate in the work of the Assembly, since - after the elections, which they labeled as unfair - for the tenth time, the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) took power. The ruling DPS-dominated Assembly has slowed down electoral reforms - making it difficult to boycott opposition lawmakers. The DPS-dominated parliament has slowly led electoral reforms, though they have also been hampered by difficulties in collecting quorums during the boycott. However, there were no major problems in gaining votes to adopt the controversial Freedom of Religion Act," it said, among other things, in a report on Montenegro.
 
Smeltzer, an expert at Freedom House, a Washington-based NGO, points out that many Central and Eastern European leaders no longer pretend to dream of democracy and the rule of law.
 
"The conclusions we have come to are incredibly discouraging. We have found that leaders and politicians in the area are no longer hiding behind democratic facades. Their masks have fallen, and they are no longer hiding behind respect for nominal values ​​and are openly attacking democratic institutions, "Smeltzer emphasizes.
20 Dec 2019, 17:15 PM

December 20, 2019 - Today’s session of the Defense and Security Council was dedicated to the consideration of the Decision on the Engagement of the members of the Armed Forces of Montenegro in order to support administration authority in charge of protecting state borders from illegal migrations.

 

The session, which was held in Cetinje, was presided over by Mr Milo Đukanović, Montenegro’s president.

“After consideration, the Decision was adopted. In 2020, the Armed Forces of Montenegro will deploy its members in seven international taskforces. The decision was adopted on the basis of the assumed NATO responsibilities, EU accession process, regional initiatives, bilateral cooperation plans and needs of the Armed Forces for specific training sessions and exercises, with the aim of further developing military capacities in 2020”, said representatives of President’s Office.

Members of the Council are familiar with the activities Montenegro undertook in countering hybrid threats in 2019 and the Information on the cyber activity performed by Montenegro in 2018 and 2019.

 

The Council concluded that competent ministries should continue to develop protection capacities to respond adequately to cyber and hybrid threats.

Text by CDM, read more here.

To read more about politics in Montenegro, follow TMN's dedicated page.

17 Dec 2019, 08:39 AM

December 17, 2019 - The development of the Airports of Montenegro has no alternative. It’s a matter of development, not political differences, said Prime Minister, Mr Duško Marković, who is on his official visit to Tivat.

 

“Airports of Montenegro management, led by the Board of Directors, has done a lot for the past three years. I expect a lot from the concession, I want to see new infrastructure with a terminal in Tivat. Top-quality for the citizens and the state”, pointed out Mr Marković.

He added that Tivat could serve as an example to other municipalities.

“After successful investment schemes in culture, education and sport, transport is our top priority now. Congratulations on your commitment to improving social and sports infrastructure. Tivat sets en example to other municipalities”, said Mr Marković.

 

Prime Minister points out that the Government’s committed to building a modern healthcare facility in the Bay.

“We need to do that since Montenegro is considered to be an elite tourist destination”, said mr Marković.

Mr Marković and Mr Siniša Kusovac, president of the Municipality of Tivat, marked the commencement of works on the construction of a roundabout in Tivat.

Text by CDM, read more here

To read more about politics in Montenegro, follow TMN's dedicated page.

13 Dec 2019, 07:33 AM

December 13, 2019 - On 14 December, Montenegro’s Prime Minister, Mr Duško Marković, will be on his official visit to the Holy See, where he will hold talks with Pope Francis.

Mr Marković will also have meetings with the Secretary for Relations States, Mr Paul Gallagher. He will also visit Historical Archives and meet with its director, Mr Johan Iks.

Government representatives say that Mr Marković’s visit to the Vatican is aimed at further strengthening already stable political relations and highest-level dialogue.

“The fundamental agreement between Montenegro and the Holy See, signed in June 2011, represents a platform for deepening and improving overall inter-state relations. Two parties attach great importance to its full application and thus organize regular sessions of the Mixed Commission to discuss bilateral questions and other questions relevant to the Catholic community and the Catholic church in Montenegro”, said Government representatives.

The visit to the Vatican will enhance cooperation between the two states, especially in the domain of political dialogue. They will discuss the possibility of Pope Francis’ visit to Montenegro.

 

“The fundamental agreement between Montenegro and the Holy See regulates the most important segments of bilateral relations. Therefore, activities related to its implementation are expected to become more dynamic”.

Mr Marković’s official visit to the Holy See means the continuation of the highest-level talks, based on the principles of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding.

“At the same time, this visit is a chance to highlight how important it is for us to cooperate with the Holy See and to demonstrate our resolve to pledge support for the opening of Holy See’s nunciature in Podgorica. The visit will confirm a constructive approach to the implementation of the Fundamental agreement through regular sessions of the Mixed Commission”, concluded representatives of the Government.

The delegation of Montenegro will be headed by Mr Duško Marković.

Text by CDM, read more here

To read more about politics in Montenegro, follow TCN's dedicated page

08 Dec 2019, 07:20 AM

December 8, 2019 - Everything points out to the fact that the opposition does not want to reach agreements, as it means that we must approve the election results in the end and congratulate the winner. That has never happened so far. Therefore, we have enough reasons to believe that they [the opposition] already know they cannot win, and it’s just a matter of time when they are going to reveal their alibi questioning the validity of elections, Mr Andrija Nikolić, the DPS MP said in an interview for Dnevne Novine daily.

 

Mr Nikolić was talking about current events on the political scene, in the Montenegrin parliament, the Committee on the Electoral Legislation Reform, as well as about the messages from the recently held DPS Congress, noting that the strongest Montenegrin party at its 8th Congress “have come as a leader of the emancipation movement in Montenegro”.

 

He said: “First all alone, then along with the coalition partners, the DPS has staged all the victories in the new political history of Montenegro. We have reasons to be satisfied with what we have achieved, but there’s no place for the exaggerated feeling of euphoria. Even though we are entering the election year with optimism, our mission is of a long-term character. That’s a key message we’re sending from the Congress to the citizens of Montenegro. And it’s based on the data that Montenegro is among leaders in Europe when it comes to the economic growth rate over the two last years. Our task is that the growth reflected through the motorway, construction and reconstruction of many main and regional roads, energy facilities, construction of new schools and kindergartens, decreased unemployment rate by 8 per cent and increase in the number of employees for 30,000, the citizens of MNE can additionally feel in their wallets.”

Text by CDM, read more here.

To read more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

05 Dec 2019, 19:22 PM

December 5, 2019 - Montenegro is in a place where it can contribute to peace and stability, said the president of Montenegro’s Government, Mr Duško Marković, who is attending NATO Summit in London. 

Prime Minister said that meeting leaders of ally countries were a great opportunity for Montenegro to confirm its NATO membership, which is crucial to our security.

Summit in London is organized to mark NATO’s 70th anniversary.

Mr Marković says that the Summit is a confirmation of the power of union and solidarity of its members.

“Decisions made at the Summit today encourage and improve NATO policies and its ability to counter threats. NATO’s commitment when it comes to Western Balkans is clear. The attendance of North Macedonia proves it”, says Prime Minister.

Mr Marković says this was a great opportunity for Montenegro to reiterate that it supports NATO and cherishes its values.

“NATO is important for the security of the region and our country. Cooperation between Montenegro and NATO is very comprehensive. This was a very successful Summit that conveyed messages of unity, power and solidarity”, pointed out Mr Marković.

President of the Government confirmed that messages conveyed by the French president, Mr Emmanuel Macron, were also discussed at the Summit.

“We should work on strengthening NATO. Mr Macron himself agreed”, said Mr Mrković.

A CHANCE AND A CHALLENGE

China’s progress was also one of the topics discussed at the Summit.

 

“China is a chance and a challenge for Montenegro and the Alliance as a whole. We should do our best to understand China as much as we can”, says PM.

VALUES OF THE DEVELOPED WORLD

Mr Marković said that Montenegro’s interest was not only to become part of some alliance, but its main interest was to develop and improve living standards.

“NATO Member States create conditions for a better life. After Montenegro became NATO member, it got a chance to develop its economy in a sustainable way and that’s why our economy has been recording enormous growth”, says Mr Marković.

NORTH MACEDONIA TO BECOME NATO MEMBER NEXT YEAR

Prime Minister said that the fact that North Macedonia “will become NATO member next year” was very encouraging.

“That’s important for the entire Western Balkans”, says Mr Marković.

€35 MILLION FOR MILITARY EQUIPMENT

Asked is Montenegro was really negotiating with Israel reading the purchase of armament, Mr Marković says that one of its duties is to earmark a specific amount for the defense.

“There’s no hidden agenda. By 2024, we want to reach a 2% level of funds intended for defense. We’ve already provided part. We’ve earmarked €35 million for the provision of equipment next year”, says Mr Marković.

Montenegrin soldiers will be part of the military mission in Iraq.

At the beginning of the Summit, Mr Marković met with the President of the Government of Canada, Mr Justin Trudeau and President of Latvia, Mr Egils Levits.

During the meeting with Mr Trudeau, the emphasis was put on great bilateral relations with Canada, and high-quality cooperation within NATO.

Meeting with the Latvian president was dedicated to Latvia’s support for the European integration of Montenegro and WB countries.

Mr Levits said that they appreciated Montenegro’s contribution to the goals of the Alliance.

Text by CDM on December 4, 2019, read more here

To read more about politics in Montenegro, follow TMN's dedicated page

01 Dec 2019, 10:17 AM

December 1, 2019 - Delegates of the eighth DPS Congress held today in Podgorica re-elected Mr Milo Đukanović as the party leader, while Mr Duško Marković was re-elected as a deputy leader of the party. There were 598 delegates who took part in the work of the Congress, and after all the votes were counted, it was noted that two votes concerning Mr Đukanović were invalid, and as for Mr Marković, two were invalid and two against his election for the function of the party’s vice-president.

“We have fulfilled all the promises made at the previous congress. We have managed to preserve Montenegro’s stability, to join NATO and move towards the EU, which are important steps in the area of economic and democratic development,” President Đukanović said after his re-election.

According to him, the DPS is steadily moving towards the Europeanization and emancipation of the Montenegrin society, and it creates conditions for a quality life of citizens.

“Over the last four years, the DPS has more or less won all the electoral victories. The party is in power in 17 municipalities. There is no room for being relaxed. We have a long-term mission. There are challenges regarding further economic development because in that way it’s possible to solve numerous social problems,” he was adamant.

Mr Đukanović and Mr Marković were the only candidates running for these posts.

 

In addition, the Congress elected the Main Committee comprising 146 members, the Statutory Commission, the Supervisory Board and adopted the party’s Political Program.

Text by CDM on November 30, 2019, read more here

To read more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

26 Nov 2019, 10:38 AM
November 26, 2019 - The movement "Odupri Se" is set to hit the streets again, and the next gathering is likely on Saturday, December 7, said movement representative Nikola Grdinic. He explained the new protests required a reorganization of the Odupri Se movement, as well as an analysis of previous work, primarily because of the wrong moves that were made.
 
 "The protests must last. Everything that is happening on the political scene, as well as what lies ahead for us next year, will have a much more serious reach in terms of pressure on this arrogant government if we are mature to recognize the value of continuity of protest. The bottom line is that citizens need a guarantee that free elections will take place. No one guarantees it at this point. This authority has shown numerous times that she cannot be trusted and that she is ready for anything to survive. That is why, in the spring, we started a total boycott of all institutions, but we did not reach that goal. We are now in a situation of a partial boycott," Grdinic said.
 
As he pointed out, the Committee on Comprehensive Reform of Election and Other Legislation works in incomplete composition, as does the Parliament.
 
He sees the way out of many social problems only in the final unification of citizens on the street.
 
"It creates a counterweight to this government, and it is an announcement of control over those who will exercise power after the fall of the DPS. If the situation on the political scene happens to be used as an alibi for going to the polls next year, and these elections, in our estimation, are not sufficiently free, we will work to have protested on the election day and block the polls," Grdinic announced.
 
Asked how they view the announced protest of the Democratic Front, also in December, Nikola Grdinic said that they are looking forward to any rally aimed at overthrowing the regime.
 
"Within the idea of ​​Odupri Se, there is also a section that promotes protest at all levels as one way of civic activism to raise the political awareness of every citizen. Thus, only a growing number of local protests and initiatives by individuals targeting social issues and fighting for the public interest are thorough, argumentative, and courageous. In all these activities, we see blows to the system created by this government on bad values, as well as the hope that an alternative will be created to such a system, and we must all contribute together," the Odupri Se representative Nikola Grdinic concluded.
17 Nov 2019, 17:00 PM
November 17, 2019 - The importance of protecting the Sinjajevina Mountain was discussed yesterday at the UNESCO main building in Paris - Doctor of Anthropology and Professor at the University of Toulouse Pablo Dominguez presented the case at the headquarters of the Biosphere Reserve.
 
He will do the same early next week in Brussels. He will explain European parliamentarians that Sinajevina, where the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense planned to form an exercise range, present the part of the already protected Tara biosphere. Aleksandar Milatovic, from the Citizens' Initiative Let's Save Sinajevina and an activist of the Coalition for Sustainable Development (KOR), told Vijesti.
 
Dominguez is a world-renowned scientist who has been exploring the connection between humans and the Mediterranean nature for years.
 
Milatovic said a KOR adviser in Paris talked about what he saw during a scientific study of Sinjajevina.
 
"Dominguez, whose advice we have been listening to for months and who helps us preserve Sinjajevina, was yesterday in Paris ours and the voice of all herdsmen from Sinjajevina, as well as those who sip teas on the mountain and enjoy the untouched nature. He told UNESCO experts that the site where the military training ground is planned falls under one of the reserves that are already protected- the biosphere of the Tara River Canyon. He explained to them the impact of a possible military exercise field on the living world, talked about the role of local communities, the traditional way of life, and what he had been studying for years - nomadic livestock."
 
Dominguez also talked about the earlier intentions to declare Sinajevina as a nature park, but also that he discovered with fellow scientists while researching the socio-ecological jewel of Europe that, contrary to the recommendations, the Montenegrin Government decided to use this space as a military training ground.
 
Domingos emphasized that the Government of Montenegro plans to build a military training ground "in the heart of populated pastures and within UNESCO's biosphere reserve, without publicly available environmental and health impact assessment, without an available economic impact study and substantive negotiations with affected pastoral communities, rejecting the petition Civic Initiative Let's Save Sinjajevina."
 
"Government officials have qualified those fighting for the preservation of the Sinjajevina region as state enemies or anti-government propagandists," Dominguez said in Paris, according to a report in which Vijesti had insight.
 
Dominguez was invited to speak at the beginning of next week about what he saw in Montenegro and Brussels - first before the Parliamentary Committee on Stabilization and Association and then before the European Commission or their Directorate for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement.
 
"In addition to Sinjajevina, there will be talking about the problems of construction of small hydropower plants, Durmitor, Skadar Lake, destroyed Tara, polluted air in several Montenegrin municipalities. We have no other mechanism to deal with those who are destroying Montenegro's natural resources and protecting the ecological state, except to inform the European Commission directly what is happening here, which we are doing now. It is fortunate that our advisor, Dominguez, is truly a scientist who does not have to go anywhere for his opinion like most of the 'experts' here, but will talk about what he came up with and what he saw. And he saw what all the well-intentioned people saw was that natural resources were being destroyed because of investors' interests," Milatovic said.
 
The KOR activist referred to the opinions of experts on the devastation of nature throughout Montenegro, included in the Draft Report for Chapter 27 - Environmental Protection and Climate Change, for the period November 2018 to October 2019, which was submitted to Members of the European Parliament and to which European Parliamentarians can act in the future.
 
"This is entirely expected because it reflects the real situation. We hope that after hearing Dominguez and our friends from the European Greens, they will set an ultimatum for Montenegro - to stop destroying nature. "
 
Source: Vijesti
12 Nov 2019, 12:50 PM

November 12, 2019 - Parliament speaker of Montenegro Ivan Brajović opened the final regional workshop today in Podgorica on strategies and technical approaches to strengthening cooperation between parliaments and supreme audit institutions. The three-day event organized by the parliamentary Committee on Economy, Finances and Budget alongside the World Bank, provides the basis for experts from parliaments and supreme audit institutions to share practices, summarize strategies and technical approaches in fostering mutual cooperation.

 

In his speech, Mr Brajović stressed the importance of activities implemented by the Network of parliamentary committees on economy, finances and EU integrations, which significantly contributed to networking of parliamentarians in our region, and mentioned the contribution of the World Bank and their experts who have been continuously providing support to MNE and its institutions in various areas.

Speaking about the cooperation between the Parliament of Montenegro and the State Audit Institution, he said that current joint work has been based on the principles of mutual trust, independence, and common interest, in line with the Constitution and competencies defined by the law.

Text by CDM on November 12, 2019, read more here.

To read more about politics in Montenegro, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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