03 Apr 2019, 22:54 PM

03 April 2019 - The conclusion of the Panel discussion “Employ Local” is that recruiting domestic labour is beneficial to everyone - workers, employers and the state. This public campaign launched just before the tourist season, was organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Employment Service of Montenegro. The assembly, whose aim is to hire unemployed people from Montenegro during the summer, was opened by the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Kemal Purišić.

During the panel discussion, it was estimated that all individuals should be socially responsible and give their contribution to the community and the country they live in. Labour and Social Welfare Minister Kemal Purišić said that one of the key priorities in the work of the Government of Montenegro was to achieve more dynamic economic growth and development as a prerequisite for raising the standard of living of citizens.

“In the previous period, the Government has worked hard in order to create the conditions for job creation and efficient functioning of the labour market, with the increase of the workforce and overall employment, especially in the private sector. Reduction of unemployment was one of the main priorities, with the aim of achieving better economic growth and strengthening the competitiveness of domestic economy,” Purišić said.

Campaign Employ Local Recruiting Domestic Labour is Beneficial to Everyone 2

The Minister highlighted that workforce should be made more competitive before Montenegro joins the European Union, because later on, by the liberalization of the labour market, human resources will try to go to EU countries, where income and working conditions are at a higher level.

According to the conclusions of the panel discussion, Montenegro reduces the number of unemployed persons year after year. To meet the summer tourist season, the demand for seasonal workers has already begun.

Director of Employment Service, Suljo Mustafić, said that according to estimates of the Employment Bureau, this summer will require about 20,000 seasonal workers on the coast.

“That's an opportunity for appeal to both the unemployed and employers. We appeal to the unemployed to take this chance and apply for seasonal work and we ask the employers to have faith in domestic workers, because there are really many reasons for that. Greater job engagement of the domestic labour force in the season contributes to the inflow of funds into the budget, which we all consider to be very important, "Mustafić said.

Through the Bureau, until now, nearly 10,000 people have been employed during the summer. The ambition of this institution is that this number gets to about 11,000 this year.

"I believe that we will respond to this challenge despite the scarcity of offerings of tourism and hospitality services professionals. In order to be more successful in dealing with this problem, Montenegro should introduce the category of permanent seas, following the practice of developed countries. That kind of support for seasonal workers would make it possible for them to be tied to employers throughout the year, which would be a powerful stimulus to remain in Montenegro,” the director of the Bureau said.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Dragan Pejanović, who also spoke during the panel discussion, believes that it is important to raise the level of employers' confidence in the skills and knowledge of the domestic workforce and that interest in seasonal work will also be increased.

"What makes a destination on the world travel map special - is the service. In that sense, our goal is to hire high quality workforce each year. However, our vision is to increase the number of domestic workers in this area from year to year,” said Brajović, Director General of the Directorate for Development of Tourism Competitiveness.

During the panel conference, a constructive dialogue was attended by representatives of the Montenegrin Chamber of Economy, the Union of Employers, the Tax Administration, the Inspection Directorate, the Centre for Professional Education, the Montenegrin Tourist Association, the Association of Tourism and Hospitality Board, UCG Student Union and representatives of employers from coastal municipalities in Montenegro.

03 Apr 2019, 00:55 AM

02 April 2019 - Montenegrin Finance Minister Darko Radunović and analysts from Moody's Credit Agency, Heiko Peters and Hannah J.V. Dimpker, who currently reside in Podgorica for the regular annual visit of the Agency, held a formal meeting on April 2 to discuss economic, fiscal and financial conditions in Montenegro.

Minister Radunović informed the Moody’s analysts about the results in 2018 and emphasized that the beginning of 2019 already looks promising, considering that the figures for January and February show that budget revenues were 18.5% higher than in the same period last year and 6.3% higher when compared to the planned revenues for this period.

Moodys Credit Agency Analysts in Montenegro 2

Also, the Finance Minister reminded the present parties that Montenegro is currently in its third year of fiscal consolidation and that the measures have already given significant results.

"2019 is an important year for Montenegro because of the work on structural reforms, but also because this year will show a downturn concerning public debt, "the Minister said and added that a healthy investment cycle in energy, tourism, transport, and infrastructure was launched in Montenegro.

Representatives of Moody's Credit Agency have met with representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Montenegro, the banking sector and international organizations in a two-day visit to Montenegro to collect data based on which they will assess the credit rating of the state.

According to the assessment of the Agency, Montenegrin credit rating would likely be upgraded if there would be full or close to full implementation of the government's consolidations measures showing up in improving government's debt metrics placing the government's debt trajectory on a sustainable downward path in combination with Moody's heightened confidence that the highway-related fiscal risks are contained.

Also, a credit positive would be the completion of a majority of the EU's acquis communautaire, which would support progress towards EU accession. Equally, a reduction in contingent liabilities, stemming from a combination of materially lower government guarantees and lower risks posed by banks and SOEs, would also be credit positive.

02 Apr 2019, 21:03 PM

02 April 2019 - Montenegro is significantly ahead of other countries that aspire to become EU member states, it was estimated during the visit of Montenegrin delegation to Berlin, and noted that the continuation of high-quality implementation of reforms, with the support of European partners, especially Germany, would lead to further progress in the field rule of law. 

Montenegrin delegation, led by Chief Negotiator Aleksandar Drljević, was consisted of Negotiator for chapters 23 and 24 Marijana Laković, Chief Prosecutor Milivoje Katnić, Assistant Director of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption Savo Milašinović, and Assistant Director of the Police Directorate for Criminal Police Sector Enis Baković. During their visit to Berlin, they presented the latest results in the fight against corruption and organized crime, which show that Montenegro is ready for the new phase of the negotiation process. 

Delegation members held meetings with Head of the Division for Foreign Policy, Security Policy and Global Issues in the Office of the Federal Chancellor, Head of the Division for Serious and Organized Crime at the Federal Ministry of the Interior Joachim Bertele, Advisor of Chancellor on European Affairs Franz Neueder, Head of the Division on Serious and Organized Crime at the Federal Ministry of the Interior Sven Berger, as well as Special Representative for Southeastern Europe, Turkey and the EFTA countries at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs Christian Helbach. They also spoke with Head of the Division for Human Rights, International Law, and Principles of the EU Almut Wittling-Vogel and Deputy Head of the Division for Europe at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thomas Osowski. 

State authorities show determination to direct all available resources to achieve convincing results in areas of importance. We expect all EU members to recognise the latest results of the Special State Prosecutor's Office, the Police Directorate and the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption in the field of combating corruption and organized crime, and that we will soon receive a Report on the fulfillment of interim benchmarks in chapters 23 and 24 and then the final benchmarks, representatives of Montenegrin delegation said. 

It was noted that Montenegro had made significant progress in the fight against organized crime, especially highlighting the results achieved in cooperation with the EU and regional countries, as well as the international cooperation of Montenegrin police with EUROPOL and INTERPOL. 

Both sides assessed that significant progress was made in the area of the rule of law, and that additional efforts should be invested in areas where progress has not been sufficiently achieved, to achieve EU standards and a better quality of life.

31 Mar 2019, 22:21 PM

30 March 2019 - The winter tourist season 2018/2019 in Montenegro officially ends March 31, and the Director of the Ski Resorts of Montenegro Miloš Popović assessed that the season was successful, even slightly better than last year's.

"The winter season began in mid-December, and it ends today. There are six ski resorts in Montenegro: Kolašin, Savin Kuk, Javorovača, Vučje, Štuoc, and Hajla. According to the management of the Ski Centre Kolašin 1600, which was opened later than planned because of the installation of the cable car, 4.000 ski passes were sold during 45 days of the season, while 13,000 ski passes were sold in Durmitor during 109 days of the season. In regards to the amount of snow on the trails, this season was very successful, one of the best in the last six years. Actually, this season is even a couple of per cent better than the previous one that was ruled the most successful in the last few years," the Director of the Ski Resort of Montenegro emphasized.

Government allocates 100 million EUR to winter tourism 3

Popović announced additional works during the summer and new contents in the following winter tourist season in Kolašin and other ski centres.

"This is just the beginning of the development of this ski centre. The progress is evidenced by the fact that a tender procedure has already been launched for the new six-seater cable car, which will connect the ski centres Kolašin 1600 and Kolašin 1450. Furthermore, we will prepare about 9 km of ski trails alongside. In addition to the existing cable car, another 6 km of ski trails will be prepared, and when everything is linked, in the next year, we will have 45 km of ski trails," Popović said.

The Director of the Ski Resort of Montenegro explained that a contract has already been signed for the construction of a new cable car at Bjelasica – ski resort Žarski. The value of the contract is 9 million EUR. The contract for the construction of a base station in Mojkovac worth 1.5 million EUR has also been concluded in the previous period.

Government allocates 100 million EUR to winter tourism 2

"A contract for the construction of a six-seater cable car worth 9 million EUR was signed. The plans will include 3.5 km of ski trails at the ski resort Cmiljača in Bijelo Polje. In the coming period, we will make a public call for the base station at that location worth 1.8 million EUR," Popović stressed. He added that the tender procedure for the six-seater cable car at the ski centre Štedim and Hajla in Rožaje has also been launched. "We will also create a tender for the construction of a base station worth 1.5 million EUR. The contract for the construction of a six-seater cable car in Žabljak worth 9 million EUR with 4.5 km of ski trails was concluded. In Žabljak, we will prepare an additional 1.8 km of ski trails. We will soon launch tender procedure for the first phase of snowmaking worth 1.3 million EUR," the Director of the Ski Resort of Montenegro noted, adding that at least 7 million EUR will be invested in each ski centre.

Director of the Public Works Directorate Rešad Nuhodžić said that the Government of Montenegro will allocate 100 million EUR through the capital budget for the projects that are yet to be implemented.

31 Mar 2019, 13:00 PM

March 31, 2019 - The Social Democratic Party initiated the dismissal of the President of the Kotor Municipality, Vladimir Jokić, supported by the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), the Social Democrats (SD) and the Croatian Civic Initiative (HGI). SDP, among other things, claims that the Municipal President abused his authority and usurped the ingeniousness of the Kotor Municipal Assembly. About the political crisis in Kotor and the initiative for his dismissal, and about the Port of Kotor, the status of Kotor on the UNESCO list and the issuance of the key document for the area – Spatial Urban Plan of Kotor municipality, we spoke with Mayor Vladimir Jokić.

  • Your dismissal petitioners claim that you are abusing your powers and usurping the inherencies of the Municipality Assembly.  They accuse you of partitioning and making decisions that will cause long-term damage to Kotor. How do you comment?
The SDP in Kotor formalised its cooperation with DPS, SD and HGI, jointly signing for a proposal for my dismissal. I want to look at the political background to that. So, we have the situation that those who represented themselves as the opposition to DPS were the same who have ignored the fact that someone does not pay public money.  In such a situation they have come back to the embrace of their old partners for, I suppose, a new cup of drunkenness, this time of Kotor. When the entire Montenegrin opposition attempts to create unity, when we have tens of thousands of people every Saturday protesting peacefully in the streets of Podgorica against the regime, we have SDP, the party which was cooperating with DPS for almost 20 years, deciding to, with DPS, SD and HGI, submit an initiative for dismissing the president of the municipality. It cannot be interpreted differently than to overturn the electoral will of citizens. All political attempts to present it as an attempt to resign an individual are genuinely banal and do not deserve a comment. Even less possible is to comment on the allegations that are in public and listed in the dismissal initiative.
  • The SDP calls that you, embezzling the ingeniousness of the Assembly, made up to 14 illegal decisions.
It is a fascinating attitude of SDP, and it is almost unbelievable as long as these people go in their hypocrisy. Take the example of Kotor. When Maja Ćatović was elected President of the Municipality of Kotor in 2005, she signed the municipal budget of 31 March, referring to Article 58, now a famous Article 59 of the Local Self-Government Act, and her decision was supported by SDP three months later. You had had many decisions in Tivat, which, referring to the same article, brought the presidents of the municipality and subsequently confirmed the assembly, at moments when the SDP was part of that administration. We have such examples throughout Montenegro. And then the same SDP finds that I quote, "Jokic Force above Law and Citizens" because I made these 14 decisions.
  • The SDP argues that decisions are affecting the city's long-term damage. In a statement from 25 March, asking for your dismissal, the municipal committee of the party stressed that "it must stop self-determination in making vital decisions for the city that is damaging the durable goods of citizens and introducing the city into lawlessness." What are the decisions?
The assembly has not met, we all know the political reasons for this, and if we talk about legality - the question of political parties is whether the parliament will function, it is not within the competence of the municipal president. So, we have a crisis of power. During the crisis, we have a tourist season coming when we have public companies that cannot work without their business plans. At that point, as a municipal president, I have two options - to leave those companies blocked or to disband their work. Perhaps from the political side, it was much wiser that I kept everything blocked and shifted responsibility to political parties. As a responsible man doing an accountable job, my only logical option was to enable the smooth operation of these companies. I do not know if there is a need to mention that I have applied for such treatment by SDP officials. I have signed decisions on giving consent to the programs and plans of the Utility Company, Water Supply Company, Tourist Organization, Cultural Center, and Public Institution Museums. To be completely practical - if I did not sign a decision to give consent to the work program and the financial plan of the Water Supply Company, this company could not lawfully perform the supply of water to Grbalj, Krivošije and other parts of the municipality that do not have water during the summer. So that was an obligation. Also, I have made different decisions, such as placing some documents in a public hearing, which is "great unlawfulness." We had a choice to entrust the Port of Kotor with the parking area on the waterfront as a prerequisite for handing over the concessions on the Operational Coast in Kotor. What undoubtedly the most politically disadvantaged SDP are the shifts and the appointment of members of the boards of directors of public companies. We had the president of the Steering Committee of the Utility Company, for whom I was presented with proof that he had held sessions without a quorum, where he made decisions for his benefit. Within the framework of a coalition agreement, I asked coalition partners to nominate another person. Under that agreement, it is agreed that, if chosen persons meet the legal requirements, there is no room for intervention in these cases. Members of the board of directors are functions shared by constituents of one government. The parties have proposed their candidates; I have named them by the decisions in a regular procedure and accordance with Article 58 sent to the Assembly. At that point, we have two options - the assembly confirms these decisions, so that they continue to apply from the moment when I have made those decisions or that they have ceased to be valid since the assembly did not confirm them.
  • The fact is that one of the issues raised by the Kotor crisis is the question of the Port of Kotor. The first stumbling block was the election of the board of directors of this company in May last year.
During the formation of the administration in Kotor, we had a clear and publicly pronounced attitude of the Socialist People's Party (SNP) in Kotor that they sought the majority in the board of directors. Like other constituents of the coalition, we agreed to that. Based on such agreement I was elected president of the municipality, the president of local SDP was elected vice-president. From the same deal, three members of the SNP were appointed to the Board of Directors of Port of Kotor. It is my duty, as someone at the helm of this coalition, to respect the Coalition Agreement by which I was elected. Last May, for the first time, we had a situation in which the SDP did not want to vote for the members of the board of directors of the Port of Kotor with the request to nominate one member of the SDP. In this company, the Democratic Front has an executive director, SDP has a deputy executive director, a function that had not previously existed, but was introduced by new systematisation so that the SDP could exercise its control function in the Port of Kotor.
  • On the occasion of the Concession Agreement, the Government of Montenegro concluded with the Port of Kotor, and they are discussing the investment plans for port infrastructure publicly, which critics claim will further jeopardise the natural and cultural heritage of Boka Bay. The business plan is an integral part of the concession agreement, which you have supported at the extraordinary assembly of shareholders of the Port of Kotor, convened on this occasion for performing a single act without consultation with coalition partners.
Neither the business plan of the Port of Kotor nor any other step in the context of the concession was done overnight; this was a process that lasted in one joint stock company. We have the situation that the party that has a deputy executive director appears that they know nothing about anything. When it comes to consulting the Assembly, considering that it is necessary to be as transparent as possible, we are launching the practice of agreeing on how the representative of the municipality will declare at the Assembly of Shareholders of the Port of Kotor at the municipal assembly. Although, besides appointing members of the board of directors to the Port of Kotor, the president of the municipality has the right to represent the municipality autonomously at the assembly of shareholders. On 27 December last year, the Government of Montenegro issued a decision to hand over the concession over the operational coast of Kotor to the joint stock company Port of Kotor. The day after, 28 December, we had a meeting of the assembly in Kotor. At that session, the SDP congress chairperson congratulated citizens of Kotor for a concession, while deputy head of the executive director was sitting in front of her, with the deputy chairman. It is logical to assume that people in such important positions are informed.
In February, when we need to hold the Extraordinary Shareholders' Assembly of the Port to accept the Concession Agreement, appreciating the importance of this issue we want to keep the municipal assembly. We had three coalition meetings, and we were discussing the date and agenda of the Assembly Summit. We had a collegium of the president of the assembly, where the chairman of the SDP committee was participating. After that, we had a new coalition meeting to attend the authors of the Port of Kotor Business Plan to give the presidents of the parliamentary parties in Kotor the answers to every possible question and doubt. The SDP on that day refused to participate in that coalition meeting. We went to the assembly session, and ten minutes before that session came a letter in which the SDP warns that if there was any decision at that session, there was no longer a coalition majority in Kotor. Wishing to give room for additional conversations, I did not go to the extraordinary session of the shareholders' meeting. I used the statutory deadline of 15 days to convene a new session to reach a solution. However, you are also aware of the media and that the situation has become so tense that it was impossible to reach a consensus. As the president of the municipality, I was in a situation waiting for a session of shareholders to have as the president of the municipality authority under Article 58 of the Local Self-Government Act to represent the municipality at that session. I have three options - not to go to the session and let the minorities make the decision, to go and vote for the concession or against the concession. To vote against the concession, something I have been arguing since the beginning of the mandate, which is part of my party's programming affiliation, which, in my opinion, is currently the most significant interest of this city, was not taken into consideration. To allow minority shareholders to decide on something that is in the majority ownership of the town as long as I was in the forefront of that town - that was also out of the question.
In assessing the political moment, I went to the shareholders' meeting and set up the management of Port of Kotor and the author of the business plan and every question that the representatives of the political constituents who made the coalition set and questioned. I have also asked questions that were of my interest to UNESCO. In addition, I have asked the board of directors that if the Concession Contract, and thus the business plan of the Port of Kotor, is adopted, immediately convene an extraordinary meeting and conclude the executive director that at the time of signing the contract, when the plan becomes an official document, to the revision of UNESCO. After getting answers that, in my opinion, satisfied all that implies a serious approach to this topic, and knowing what the consequence of not declaring such a decision was, I had no dilemma to support the contract. Without prejudice to this decision, the Port of Kotor loses the right to manage their coast. The possibility is open for the Montenegrin Government to launch an international tender that would probably have come from a better bidder than the Port of Kotor. There is another thing that is almost unproblematic in public. You have already contracted over 500 cruising arrivals for this, and over 470 for the next year. The decision of the Government states that the concession of Port of Kotor continues until the concession decision is made. The decision that you are against means that from now on you have no concession. Who is ready to take responsibility for the city's damage to the fact that in the next 12 years it does not ask for its operational coast, to allow the possibility of a foreign company running the port of Kotor?! Finally, who can let a company that is in the majority ownership of the city to be held responsible for potential claims for more than 500 cruising arrivals contracted for this and over 470 for the next year?! The very fact that the local enterprise will continue to keep the archers in Kotor and preserve the possibility of only deciding how many cruises and under what conditions it will be sufficient for ourselves and that the balance of this company will be zero. In the next 12 years, we will invest almost five million euros, the value of the company is up by about 4 million euros, and in the most conservative scenario, we will earn approximately six million euros. I still have not found any argument to convince me that I made the wrong decision.
  • Political disagreements over the concession over the Operational Coast of Kotor in the public space have opened discussions on topics such as the carrying capacity of the destination, the ecological effects of capacity building of the Port of Kotor, but also the orientation of tourism development of the city, today the primary target for excursions. Are citizens scared because the development plan of Port of Kotor will further increase the pressure on the city and the way of life of citizens?
Sorting out some things is necessary. By acquiring a concession, we have retained the right to manage our destination. Destination management is the biggest challenge of all cultural tourism destinations that are on cruise lines. Since the election of the president of the municipality, I am very concerned about it. We had a session in Kotor of the World Heritage City Organization, which together with the Mayor of Dubrovnik I proposed this topic. After that, they had a meeting in Rhodes in Greece, and soon we will meet in Cracow, at the summit of the World Heritage Cities Organizations, where we will discuss how the cruising industry affects the cities of world heritage. Do I think it is good that we have too many ships - I do not think so, and if I think it is good that we have cruise tourism - it is okay if we manage to conduct it. From all the cruise ports, we can first compare ourselves to Dubrovnik, which has significantly reduced the pressure on the city via Respect to the City platform. The platform's point is to make the layout of the cruise arrivals and the arrangement of bus arrivals so that they are dispersed throughout the day so that pressure is not pressed at once. In this way, you provide a good experience for the guests who are coming, which is why they may want to return, have less pressure on the public infrastructure, and most importantly, you are reducing the stress on the life of the local population. It's a process that does not happen overnight, but we will go in that direction.
I would much prefer that Kotor is the destination of stationary tourism, that we have several big hotels and we are based on the development of tourism, and that we have guests who stay for a few days. But we do not have enough to carry the city's economic activity. In that sense, I will return to the concession issue. We will be able to manage this destination, manage future arrivals, reservations, how ships will be tied, decide whether to introduce ecological tenders, and how the city will look. In addition to this fact, every other benefit is small. And it is not without them. With such a way of controlling the Port of Kotor, you can create a "home port"- the port where it is from and where it ends the round trip. You will make a city where you will have tourists. You will have three thousand guests who need to board in Kotor. These people do not come that morning to board the cruiser in Kotor. They come two to three days earlier, which they spend on hotels and the city. The wish of every cruise destination in the world is to be a "home port". We already have the announcement for the next year that we will have a ship that will start its round trip in Kotor. If someone thinks the city of Kotor can develop in a way to free cruise tourism, to do it today for tomorrow, he is delusional.
  • Kotor is on the move to finally get the Urban Spatial Plan, whose overturning backdrop for years has been an argument for numerous devastations of the cultural landscape of the protected area of Kotor. The Urban Spatial Plan is undoubtedly a primary development document, but it should also be a guarantee of preserving the natural and cultural values of the space that has been significantly compromised in recent decades. Will this document incorporate in detail the requirements set out in the UNESCO / ICOMOS Joint Reactive Mission Report?
At the moment when I was elected president of the Kotor Municipality, in March 2017, the biggest problem of Kotor was its survival on the UNESCO list. It was a hard position, and in that sense, there is a challenging period behind us. I can also say that during this process I personally "earned" several criminal charges for not issuing building permits in Kostanjica, because of a property in Verige and so on. However, by the persistent work of local self-government and in cooperation with state bodies, I have to praise the collaboration we have recently managed to establish with the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism in the process of adopting the Urban Spatial Plan of the Kotor Municipality, which has given the result. What I specifically have to emphasise is the contribution of the Secretary-General of the Commission for Cooperation with the UNESCO Committee, Mrs Milica Nikolic, and the Montenegrin Ambassador to UNESCO, Mrs Dragica Ponorac, who gave an impudent contribution, especially Mrs Nikolic. From the situation that we are in danger of being deleted from the World Heritage List, we came to the position that we had a visit to the UNESCO / ICOMOS Reactive Mission, to receive the report of this mission, and that next Thursday the Montenegrin Government will adopt the Draft Urban Spatial Plan of Kotor. Of the 33 recommendations given in the Reactive Mission Report, 32 have been entered in this plan. The adopted Draft goes to the World Heritage Center to have an opinion on the proposed document.
I think we have made a very significant civilisation breakthrough in a way that we decided to belong to the society of civilised peoples. It means that we have determined to keep our space and not ruin what the world has entrusted us to hold for the quick profit of offshore companies but to save something for our children. What is certain is that such activities are affected by enormous financial interests. Perhaps it is where we can find the reasons for this kind of political situation today in Kotor. On behalf of your team and in my name I can say that the preservation of Kotor and the preservation on the UNESCO list and the concession for the Port of Kotor, although they are two topics that have obviously caused the most significant turbulence at this time, are the biggest achievements of this city over the past three decades. These two things set the foundation for the development of Kotor in the next decade. Everyone coming here will be able to count on developing the city on these facts, being compelled to civilise norms, and will have a big business that can rely on that development. As the municipal president, and as a politician, I could choose the path that would guarantee me four years of a peaceful mandate. You testified that the previous two and a half years were all apart from the quiet, especially the last half of the year. I do not think I need to explain that this administration and the team that leads the city's interest assumes all the other interests. As a man, I can say that I am much more satisfied that I am in peace with myself than with the rest of the world. The preservation of Kotor on the UNESCO list and the concession over the coast of Kotor are acts that will show their significance in the future.
30 Mar 2019, 23:13 PM

March 30, 2019 - The seventh in a series of peaceful civic protests under the slogan Odupri Se - 97000, where a significant step towards achieving the goals expressed in the Prohibition of Free Citizens, was held in Podgorica, at the Independence Square, where the opposition delegates and protest organizers signed the Agreement on the Future.

Before signing, the Agreement was read by the actor Slaviša Grubiša:
"We are committed to a common, consistent and enduring struggle for rooted change in the system, while respecting the principles of authority, as the first precondition for the achievement of all liberal-democratic norms. In light of the current political, social and economic situation, the underlying subject of the Agreement is the minimum conditions for maintaining the first fair and free elections in the history of the Montenegrin multiparty. Signatories express their agreement on the following issues:
1. We will jointly strive for the formation of the Government of Civil Unity, which will operate in a limited mandate and whose basic task will be to provide conditions for the maintenance of fair and free elections.
2. The government of civil unity should have the following characteristics:
a. Choice of ministers on a parity basis: one-third of the representatives of the ruling majority, parliamentary opposition, and non-party personalities.
b. In the function of the President of the Government of Civil Unity, he can not be a member of the parties that are now in power.
3. The signatories will not participate in any one election, local, state or presidential, scheduled before the fulfillment of the basic task of the Government of Civil Unity.
4. The Government of Civil Unity will continue and, if possible, speed up the course of the negotiation process related to European integration.
5. The signatories to the Agreement shall agree on all forms of joint non-institutional action. "
The agreement also lists resignations, which we could already hear in protests under the slogan Odupri Se - 97,000, including President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister Duško Marković, Supreme State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic, Chief Prosecutor Milivoja Katnić, Director Agencies for the Prevention of Corruption of Sreten Radonjić and the leadership of Radio Television of Montenegro.
After reading the Agreement, Grubiša urged deputies on the line to sign the Agreement on the Future and to "ensure that they will consistently strive for the fulfillment of all citizens' goals."
The Agreement was signed by the deputies Dritan Abazović, Budimir Aleksić, Aleksa Bečić, Boris Bogdanović, Branka Bošnjak, Strahinja Bulajić, Vera Bulatović, Predrag Bulatović, Anka Vukićević, Draginja Vuksanović, Janko Vučinić, Jovan Jole Vučurović, Aleksandar Damjanović, Goran Danilović, Milutin Goran Radonjić, Mladen Pejović, Zdenka Popović, Goran Radonjić, Goran Radonjić, Zdenka Popović, Marko Koprivica, Marko Koprivica, Ranko Krivokapić, Miodrag Lekić, Andrija Mandić, Nebojša Medojević, Valentina Minić, Danijela Pavićević, Ljiljana Đurašković, Milun Zogović, Branko Radulovic, Slaven Radunovic, Neđeljko Rudovic and Danilo Šaranovic.
Veljko Vasiljević, Koča Pavlović, and Džavid Šabović "for justified reasons" did not go out on the stage tonight, but Grubiša informed citizens that their signatures already had. Srđan Milic did not appear on the scene, but on his behalf, the Agreement signed an authorized person.
After the delegation, the agreement signed the organizers of the protest Džemal Perović, Dejan Pejović, Omer Šarkić, Demir Hodžić, and Ratka Jovanović-Vukotić. Grubiša concluded the signing by telling the gathered citizens that all of them were signatories of the Agreement.
Before joining the Association, the professor of Economic Chamber of Economy in Bar Neđeljko Necko Ðurović addressed a group, wishing "a good night for the longest car in the Balkans."
"We are asking nothing more than free elections and the right to decide on our destiny. We have the chance to be the first generation of this karst, which will, through the democratic path, without new and tragic divisions, bring about changes."
Djurovic stressed that citizens should not miss this chance. "We have an exam that we have to pass. We want responsible power and a stable political community," he concluded.
He reminded the ruling party at their beginnings and said they now need to hear "what they have been asking thirty years - it's enough just to leave. 
One of the organizers of the protest and signatory of the Agreement Demir Hodzic also addressed to the assembled. Hodzic said that with citizens "besides rage, he feels hope and faith."
"When I'm going to a store, a taxi, a state institution, and I often hear the words of support. During the hearing at the Podgorica Security Center, because I discovered the one who was illegally following the students and us, I also met police officers in understanding and supporting our struggle. And I know it will soon be up to us because this power falls. "
Hodzic also stressed the importance of maintaining local authorities in those municipalities where the opposition was in power.
"We are asking not to enter into coalitions or any other DPS arrangements at the local level that could jeopardize the process we all started with."
The protest march moved to the Freedom Street, next to the building of the Prosecutor's Office, then Bulevar of St. Petar Cetinjski near the Central Bank, the Assembly, and the Presidency building. Also, loud sounds were heard, and demonstrators screamed: "We are a state!" And "Leave!". The demonstrators continued walking through the bridge of Blažo Jovanović, Bulevar Jovan Tomašević, towards the Millenium Bridge,- then Bulevar Ivan Crnojević and the Freedom Street back to the Independence Square.
Next protest gathering within the movement Odupri Se will be held in Podgorica next Saturday, 6 April at 6 pm.
Source: oduprise.me
29 Mar 2019, 22:26 PM

March 29, 2019 - The new protest under the slogan "Odupri Se- 97,000" will be held on Saturday, 30 March 30 at 6 pm at the Independence Square in Podgorica. Organizers urged citizens to join with as many as possible, "because it is the only way to meet our demands for the release of captive institutions and to root the changes in the system that for decades serves only the survival of octopus in power."

Throughout the whole week, nonviolent actions have been organized both by the "Odupri Se" movement, as well as by other organizations and individuals. "We started encircling institutions, sure their staff soon will be able to do their job professionally and without pressure. Only in this way can we put pressure on the system, allow changes and realize freedom of choice in a civilized way," the protest organizers said.
In Podgorica, a protest bicycle ride on the streets of the city was held, while activists of the movement caught the performance "Odupri Se" this morning, encircled in green vests with the protest slogan of the state institution - the State Prosecutor's Office, the Government, and the Presidency.
After meeting with representatives of parliamentary opposition parties and independent deputies held on Wednesday, 27 March in the premises of the Odupri Se on Zabjelo in Podgorica, protest organizers announced that the text of the Agreement on the Future was agreed. They announced that all 39 opposition deputies would sign this document on Saturday at the Independence Square, in front of the crowded protesters
Organizers evaluate this as an essential step towards unity and solidarity of all elements in society.
The essence of the Agreement was pronounced in the Proclamation of Free Citizens, the basic requirements being the resignation of the President of the State, the Prime Minister, the Supreme State Prosecutor, the Chief Special Prosecutor, the Director of the Anti-Corruption Agency, the Public Service Council and the General Director of RTCG.
From the movement, they did not want to say more about the content of the Agreement on Future, stressing that the citizens will be familiar with the agreement on Saturday at the seventh protest in Podgorica.
Although one of the interviews has announced the marches of solidarity towards the capital, this action will not happen this Saturday. They explained saying that they are working to create conditions for the maintenance of parades.
The Seventh Protest, as well as all the previous ones have to go through a peaceful, dignified and nonviolent manner, point out to the organizers, inviting participants to take care of those who are standing or walking beside them, and with particular regard to the elderly, disabled, pregnant women and parents with children.
After the speeches, the protesting walk will take place in the direction of Freedom to the Gorica Stadium, Bulevar Ivan Crnojević via the Milenij Bridge, Bulevar Jovan Tomašević, via the Blaž Jovanović Bridge and Bulevar of St Peter Cetinski to the Independence Square.
29 Mar 2019, 16:57 PM

28 March 2019 - Minister of Defence Predrag Bošković recently met with Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The meeting discussed the international efforts aimed at strengthening global peace and security given that the topic of the upcoming UN Ministerial Conference on Friday is peacekeeping operations. 

Minister Bošković stressed that participation in peacekeeping operations should focus on conflict prevention, bearing in mind that local political problems often go beyond the national borders by taking on the regional and even global dimensions. 

He stressed that the United Nations peacekeeping missions are a unique and dynamic instrument for helping countries affected by conflict, as well as an important factor in building and preserving lasting peace. 

Bošković expressed Montenegro's willingness to provide an active and constructive contribution to the United Nations Department of Peace Operations, emphasising the importance of the participation of the Armed Forces of Montenegro in the UN Mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to strengthen the interoperability of the capabilities of its forces.

Ministry of Defence at UNs Headquarters in New York 5

Minister of Defence Predrag Bošković also met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Bošković emphasised that Montenegro is based on the principles on which the UN is based and pointed to a strong commitment to multilateralism and thus to the United Nations system as an organisation that seeks to ensure a peaceful, stable and prosperous world.

He pointed out that the Government of Montenegro or the Ministry of Defence has a constructive role when the region is in question, and that the primary interest of Montenegro is to maintain stability in the area and to continue further progress, especially concerning European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Bošković informed Secretary-General Guterres about Montenegro's defence system reform, with a focus on historical NATO membership. 

He assessed that in these challenging times, concerted action is necessary. Therefore, the Minister pointed out that Montenegro, as one of the youngest members of the United Nations, strongly supports the organisation's reform process, with the belief that it represents an indispensable platform in promoting stability, cooperation and further economic development of the region, which is a significant support to the Western Balkan countries on their path to further reform and democratization.

Ministry of Defence at UNs Headquarters in New York 1


Bošković emphasised that there is no alternative to multilateralism, stressing that Montenegro will continue to proactively play a role in strengthening peace and preventing conflicts on the global level, with the emphasis on the need for more determined and unified coordination and more active part of all UN members. 

Guterres thanked for supporting UN reforms, and welcomed Montenegro's policy, with particular emphasis on the cooperation affirmation policy in the Western Balkans region. He expressed support for Montenegro's European integration and stressed that Montenegro was recognised as a reliable partner in establishing cooperation at the level of the wider international community.

The UN Secretary-General emphasised that Montenegro confirms its commitment to continuously contribute to world peace and conflict prevention by participating in international missions and that it is the right moment to consider new modalities of building trust and conflict management to contribute to the building of more stable and peaceful societies. He expressed the belief that Montenegro will remain committed to an open policy of good neighbourly relations to contribute to the stability of the region constructively.

26 Mar 2019, 23:25 PM

26 March 2019 - Minister of Defence Predrag Bošković paid an official visit to the State of Maine, where he met with Governor Janet Millsand National Guard Commander Major General Douglas Farnham. 

At the meeting with Governor Mills, Minister Bošković emphasised the importance of Montenegro's full membership in the Alliance, and outlined the role that Montenegro has in ensuring lasting peace and stability in the Western Balkans.

He pointed to the importance of comprehensive bilateral relations between Montenegro and the United States, with the view that one of the crowns of these relations is precisely the State Partnership Program – SPP between Montenegro and the State of Maine, which is based on many compatibilities of Montenegro with this US federal state.

Montenegro and United States Cooperation with State of Maine1


Boškovic also stressed that the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of Montenegro are particularly satisfied with the intensity of defence cooperation that should be strengthened alongside the development of relations in other areas of the state partnership. 

Governor Mills praised the overall progress of Montenegro that resulted in NATO membership and expressed satisfaction with the high-quality the State Partnership Program. She pointed out that the State of Maine is open to establishing more significant cooperation with Montenegro, especially in areas such as tourism, economy and education.

At the meeting with Commander Farnham, Minister Bošković stressed the high-quality bilateral defence cooperation, emphasizing that the United States represents the main ally and strategic partner to Montenegro in the area of development of defence capabilities. 

He said that the long-standing partnership between the Armed Forces of Montenegro and the National Guard of Maine within the mentioned State Partnership Program not only actively links these two structures but also gives particularly evident results in terms of improving the existing capacities of the Montenegrin armed forces.

Montenegro and United States Cooperation with State of Maine

The Minister expressed the gratitude for the support of the National Guard of Maine in strengthening the interoperability and readiness of the Armed Forces of Montenegro for participation in international peacekeeping missions, as well as helping to fulfill the conditions for full membership in NATO. Furthermore, Bošković pointed to the continuous improvement of bilateral defence cooperation, especially in the areas of cyber defense, human resources development, and joint exercises and training. 

General Farnem pointed out that the National Guard of the State of Maine will continue to strongly support the Armed Forces of Montenegro in fulfilling capability goals, and expressed the expectation that the defence cooperation of the two countries will be continued for mutual benefit. He said he was pleased that the SPP has directly influenced the development of the armed forces of both countries.

26 Mar 2019, 22:15 PM

March 26, 2019 - The protest “Odupri Se - 97,000” organizers reported that they received from the Democratic Front (DF) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) proposals for amendments to the Agreement on the Future Draft. As they rate it, it is an excellent way to continue cooperation with a view to resolving a severe political crisis.

"Some parties have already basically supported the draft Agreement, with the only common effort to reach a document that will be acceptable to all. We called on the leaders of parliamentary opposition parties to convene a joint meeting on Wednesday (27 March). Tens of thousands of citizens have sent a clear message to the domestic and world public that changes in Montenegro are inevitable and unavoidable," the protest organizers said in a statement.
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) today submitted to the organizers of the protests the proposal of the points from the Agreement on the Future Draft, which they consider acceptable to all 39 opposition delegates, as well as representatives of the "Odupri Se- 97,000" movement.
Democratic Front (DF) sent a proposal on the joint action of representatives of all parliamentary opposition parties and opposition deputies with the message "Let's Agree!".
"We are beginning the next cycle, preferably as far as the public is concerned, to find a common denominator," Dzemal Perovic told the opposition parties on March 23, from the sixth protest of citizens in Podgorica.
"There is another round of consultation with opposition political parties, which began with the DF, with a view to achieving a minimum of agreement on common points. It is no longer white paper because we do not have time to lose. I believe everything will be agreed upon Wednesday," Perović told Vijesti.
A new round of consultations began after DF asked for “white papers” to go, matching the previously proposed Agreement on the Future, which the protest organizers forwarded to the parliamentary opposition, marking it as a roadmap for a peaceful transition to government.
This document requires, among other things, the formation of the Government of Civil Unity, which would prepare fair and free elections, involving parties of the authorities, opposition and independent intellectuals.
"After yesterday's consultations with the representative of the organizers of the protest "Odupri Se," the Democratic Front sent a Proposal on the Joint Action of Representatives of All Parliamentary Opposition Parties and Opposition Members, "Let’s Agree!", which we firmly believe will contribute to overcoming misunderstandings and enable joint action in realization proclaimed goals," the DF reported. 

Agreement on the Future - DF proposal: "Let's Agree!"

"Starting from the fact that Montenegro is in a deep socio-political crisis that escalated with the "Envelope".
Aware of the great responsibility of Montenegrin citizens who are protesting for the resignation of leaders of the regime.
Bearing in mind the justified expectations of citizens and the opposition of the public for the unique action of the parliamentary opposition and various associations that formally organize protests.
Bearing in mind the political, ideological and program diversity of all those who support the protest
Opposition parties and opposition deputies in the Assembly of Montenegro with this document:
Strongly support the demands of the organizers of the "Odupri Se- 97,000" protest seeking resignations of President Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister Duško Marković, Supreme State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic, Chief Special Prosecutor Milivoje Katnić, Anticorruption Agency Director Sreten Radonjić, Director of Public Media Service RTCG Božidar Šundić and the Public Service Managing Board;
They affirm that under these totalitarian conditions they will not go to the next elections;
They advocate for the formation of a Technical Government that would provide conditions for maintaining free and democratic general elections;
They express readiness on continental communication and cooperation in an atmosphere of mutual trust, without exclusivity and condemnation, both politically and operationally, of all opposition parliamentary parties and delegates with representatives of the organizers based on the above-stated goals," says DF.

Agreement on the Future- SDP Proposal: Text Acceptable for Everyone

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has submitted to the organizers of the protests the proposed item from the Future Agreement document, which they consider acceptable to all 39 opposition delegates as well as representatives of the protest campaign "Odupri Se- 97,000", said today.
SDP said they did so after a detailed analysis of the "Future Agreement" and consultations within that party.
SDP believes that full support for justified protests and citizens' demands is all acceptable, as a form of over-institutional pressure to achieve full democratization of the Montenegrin society and the release of captive institutions, which is only possible through the necessary personnel changes.
In that party, it is considered that the proposal for a technical government is acceptable, whose primary task is to create conditions for fair and democratic elections with a consistent change, based on broad consensus, reformed electoral and other legislation;
SDP statement states that a boycott of all subsequent parliamentary, local and presidential elections is acceptable if the necessary conditions for establishing the Technical Government as the only legal-political guarantor for fair and free elections are not fulfilled;
It is also estimated that it is acceptable for all to develop a professional, independent and responsible Public Service (RTCG) through impartial management and legal work of the Council, which is only possible through radical personnel change and return to the status before unlawful judicial decisions on the removal of members of the Council and editorial board.
As they said, in the SDP, they kept on suggestions they believe to be acceptable to all opposing political entities and can thus lead to the necessary agreement on how to resolve a severe political and institutional crisis.
"We are convinced that such an agreement will be expected of citizens and the democratic public and that we will be by these principles to have an understanding of our international partners." 
Sources: Vijesti, Mina
24 Mar 2019, 10:45 AM

March 24, 2019 - The sixth protest in the campaign "Odupri Se - 97,000" (Resist!), the series of the most massive civil protests in Montenegrin history, gathered more than ten thousand citizens from all parts of Montenegro in Podgorica last night, the organizers said.

"Our empty refrigerators and pockets are our policy," said one of the speakers Maja Jovovic, a representative of the mothers, former users of benefits for mothers for three or more children, who were abolished by the Constitutional Court's decision.

Jovovic pointed out that Djukanovic cannot read, because demonstrators do not endanger the state, but "rescue the state from him." “Unemployment, pensions, salaries and electricity bills for ordinary citizens are the reasons for protesting!" said Jovovic. He also considered abolishing benefits for mothers with three or more children.

"In the multitude of lies and deception, there is a deception of over 22,000 mothers. Two years ago, mothers hungered for 11 days for injustice and violations of the Montenegrin Constitution. We are still on the street, and we will be until the laws in Montenegro are respected! We will be in the street until everyone asked resigns," Jovovic said.

protest igor benic 1Photo by Igor Benic

Nikola Grdinić, a manager of small and medium enterprises and a free citizen, was also summoned to the assembled.

"I believe that the protest is the basis of the revival of this country and that everything must go from the street. Not just this street, but from all our cities, north, south, east, and west. The protest is a reflection of the culture of a nation. The protest has become a way of life in Montenegro. It is the first step to breaking this regime, but also announcing the control of every future government."

Grdinić asked the demonstrators to rate the work of "the president of the Ramada Assembly," the "self-contained prime minister and his fears" and the "self-proclaimed president." Loud whistles followed the questions by the crowd.

"These are not our institutions. We are a legislative, executive and judicial authority. We are a state! We are Montenegro!" said Grdinić, stressing that "the greatest act of patriotism is here."

protest students are here

On behalf of the Student Initiative of Montenegro, a student of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts at Cetinje, Minja Novaković, was convened. The speech started with a mini performance with a chair because she "grew up in a society that teaches us to sit, listen, and suffer."

"Tonight I refuse to sit! I stand here in the name of all students and young people of Montenegro. We do not want us and our parents to fear. When they say at work, 'Watch out what your boy or girl is doing in protest,' I say, 'I just watch!' I'm worried that I do not let them threaten me. I take care of my right to freedom. I keep my power to a dignified existence," she said.

On behalf of the students, she said she wanted an educational system that would make her a specialist.

"I want to create a future in this country. I do not want to suffer from the collective depression imposed on us by this society. It's enough! We are responsible and fearless! Let everyone hear us, 'Students are here!'" Minja said, urging her colleagues to join them in large number on Sunday in front of the Montenegrin Assembly.

The actor Slaviša Grubiša read the "Free Citizens' Declaration" in which the demands for resignation at previous meetings are listed.

We recall, in the previous protests, the resignation of Council members and general director of Montenegrin Radio Television, Božidar Šundić, was requested. Irrevocable resignation was also demanded by Supreme State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic, Chief Special Prosecutor Milivoja Katnić, and director of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption of Sreten Radonjic. The protest organizers also demand the resignation of Prime Minister Duško Markovic and Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic.

Grubiša emphasized that "opposition parties’ unity and close cooperation are essential in this process."

"Among the free citizens, from the first day in protest, and representatives of the parliamentary opposition from the Democratic Front, Democratic Party of Montenegro, Socialist People's Party, Social Democratic Party, Demos, URA Civic Movement, Labor Party, United Crna Gora, as well as Independent Deputies." 

"There are also with us non-parliamentary parties, trade unions, students, academics and doctors, and we will be even more. It is a protest of all citizens, and everyone is welcome. "

The protest march moved to the Freedom Street, next to the Prosecutor's Office building, then the Boulevard of St. Petar Cetinjski near the Central Bank, the Assembly, and the President's building. Passing by each institution, loud sounds were heard, and demonstrators screamed: "We are a state!" And "Leave!” In front of the Assembly, the citizens turned to the police with the transparencies, "And your children deserve better" and "This police work for citizens."

The walk continued through the bridge of Blažo Jovanović, where the column stopped short by the Elektroprivreda of Montenegro, with the chanting of "Raise the electricity bills, you'll hear a storm." Then the column went to Moscow Street next to the RTCG building, and the Boulevard of Revolution and the Street of Ivan Vujsevic returned to Boulevard of St Petar Cetinjski and the same way back to Independence Square.

The meeting concluded on behalf of the organizer Denis Mekić, addressing the citizens who did not join the protest yet.

"Everyone of you, who call your chief to check if you voted in the elections, all of you who have been told that your job is threatened, that your child's future is threatened in this country, all those who are threatened by intimidation - your salary does not give you any Prime Minister or President, but us, citizens. Citizens will continue to pay you as long as you work for them, for your Country".

With the message: "We'll see you on the street proudly and without fear!" The organizers called for the next protest, scheduled for Saturday, March 30 at 6 pm at Independence Square.

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