27 Sep 2019, 17:01 PM

27 September 2019 - Upon his arrival in New York, where he is attending the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović met with representatives of the Diaspora organized by the Consulate General of Montenegro in New York.

The President of Montenegro expressed his gratitude to those present and the entire Diaspora for their loyalty to Montenegro and contribution to the aspirations of our modern state, noting that the Diaspora also represents a significant Montenegrin potential for the near better future.

They discussed the processes in our country and the region, in the context of integration aspirations, the achievement of European values ​​and standards and increasing the quality of life of citizens, reported the Office of the President of Montenegro.

President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Montenegrin Diaspora Association on Thursday, following his address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Continuing his visit, President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović will also attend the official opening of the General Debate of the 74th Session of the General Assembly and will be a guest at a luncheon hosted by Antonio Guterres for top UN officials, as well as receptions by US President Donald Trump and Donald Tusk President of European Council.

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

22 Sep 2019, 16:44 PM

September 22, 2019 - The manifestation Kotor Circle ended yesterday in the city. The second edition of this Festival of free thought will be remembered for political censorship directed by the local DPS government. Namely, on the day of the festival beginning, the financier - Kotor Municipality, informed the organizers that they would be denied support if, although it was foreseen by the previously defined agenda, Goran Jovanovic, alias Timur Tmurni appeared at the Festival.

On Thursday, the organizers of the Kotor Circle informed satirist Goran Jovanovic that he was unwelcome as a participant of the event at which he had to speak with the renowned Serbian writer and publicist Teofil Pancic about the Culture of Dialogue.
"With great regret and sincere embarrassment, we would like to inform you that the official position of the Municipality of Kotor has been announced to us today that you cannot be one of the speakers at the Kotor Circle Festival. Since most of the participants are already in Kotor, and that these are significant names of the regional cultural scene, and we have been announced that your participation would call into question the holding of the Festival, please understand us as the organizers of the Festival and the importance of holding it and the inability to influence the new situation."
In a Facebook post, Timur Tmurni stated that he was honored to have been banned, as he said, by the illegal leadership of the Kotor municipality.
"The fact that I have acquired the status of the dissident by this expected act is very pleasing to me. I will do everything to point out to the anti-regime media in Montenegro and the reputable media in the region the miserable act of censorship and suppression of free speech," Timur Tmurni said on Facebook.
The Mayor of Kotor Željko Aprcović did not want to comment on this event, and his party colleague secretary Marina Dulovic said the municipality, sponsor of the Festival and someone who provides part of the logistics, has the right to influence the event program.
Due to the move by the editorial board of Kotor, which decided to hold the Festival anyway, visitors, numerous names from the socio-political life of Kotor and the festival participants themselves, such as Teofil Pancic and renowned Croatian writer and columnist Ante Tomic, gathered on Friday in the hall of the Kotor Cultural Center and expressed their displeasure.
"In more than a quarter-century of my professional career and public involvement in social problems, where I have often encountered various forms of implicit and explicit censorship, I have not encountered, seen or experienced anything like this before," commented the famous Serbian journalist and writer Teofil Pancic in Kotor on Friday. Because of his explicit ban on his participation in the Kotor Circle Festival, he could not share the booth with musician, satirist, and poet, doctor Goran Jovanovic.
kotor circle teofil pancicKotor circle: Teofil Pancic, Copyright: Timur Tmurni FB
Pancic came to the gathering wearing a "Je suis Timur Tmurni" t-shirt (I'm Timur Tmurni), alluding to t-shirts with similar messages worn several years ago by intellectuals around the world in support of the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
He said that the censorship of the current Kotor authorities to Jovanovic, "is usually done more subtly, in such a way that the traces of the atrocities are not seen."
"This is so bare and brutal that my first thought when I heard about it was that it was just incredibly stupid. So, besides being amoral, socially irresponsible, cheeky, opinionated, arrogant, undemocratic, etc., above all, it is incredibly shameful, because in such a way, nowadays, in today's social, technological and cultural circumstances, such things do not work. If censorship occurs, then it simply goes some other course, more subtly and with hiding. There are no traces of abuses, such as preventive censorship in Serbia, which is very difficult to prove because there are no traces, "Pancic said, adding that the procedure of the Kotor DPS-government towards Timur Tmurni is" a cinematic situation."
In his further interaction with the audience, he spoke about the lack of a culture of dialogue in the former Yugoslavia, the problems of post-democracy, segregation in society on political grounds, and elementary issues of freedom.
"It is important how much you feel as free as an individual. You have to fight for freedom, and you should not be too mystified," Pancic said.
kotor circle animaKotor Circle: NGO Anima's Performance, Copyright: Timur Tmurni FB
Activists of the NGO "Anima" followed the beginning of the second festival evening, sitting in the front row, with patches over their mouth, which read "censorship." All the audience expressed their support for Timur Tmurni and his newly acquired status as a dissident in Kotor.
The organizers of the Kotor Circle, Prof. Tatjana Djurisic-Becanovic and Ksenija Rakocevic, MA addressed yesterday the public but their official statement on this issue:
"When the Secretary of Culture of the Municipality of Kotor, Ms. Marina Dulovic, orally prohibited Goran Jovanovic from participating in the Kotor Circle event and thus censured the previously adopted program, we as Organizers were left with only two options: to remain silent or to speak in terms of censorship and violence.
We have opted for the latter, because of silence, motivated by even the noblest of reasons, most suits the perpetrators of violence - the censors. Speaking, when it is strictly forbidden, when all of you - and the position and the opposition - are the most expecting torment, is the sweetest. With such a decision, we provoked the anger of both competent censors and individual advocates of free speech, who demanded from us silence, submission and recognition that we were worse than our censors. However, by maintaining this manifestation despite of censorship, we caused a real eruption of discontent and civil disobedience, which was smoldering in the "democratic conditions of democratically elected" Kotor authorities, and just waiting for provocation.
The Kotor Circle was designed as a provocative manifestation that triggers taboo-topics, which provokes and leads to verbal delinquency for both participants and visitors. We have caused your courage and challenged you to join our Circle. The Circle of Free Speech and Free Thought, which will continue to exist despite the prohibitions and anger of the righteous, because in Montenegro there will always be open circles of freedom, surrounded by the space of violence and total control. We are obliged, among other things, by the words and support of Ivan Colovic, who recognized us as heirs to the Belgrade Circle, of which he is the founder and creator of the idea. Citizens have to be brave and step into our Circle, in which no one will be intimidated, silenced, insulted, annoyed, jerked.
The municipality of Kotor, the sponsor, and censor of this event made us wonder again how much freedom costs? History teaches us that it is sometimes paid by life. Fortunately, we only paid with money because we were forced to, despite the signed Agreement, finance the Kotor Circle from our funds. It is now clear to us that freedom is still invaluable. We want to thank the competent authorities for the censorship in the attempt, which proved that we are free and will always speak freely.
We thank the holders of the free speech: Prof. Dr. Aleksandar Jerkov, Muharem Bazdulj, Mark Tomaš, Balsa Brkovic, Stevan Kordic, Dušan Maljkovic, Teofil Pancic, Dr. Ivan Colovic, Ant Tomic, Marinko Vorgic and Goran Jovanovic (Timur Tmurno), because they proved that we are all "Kotor, all of us" the organizer said in a statement.
It was the second edition of the Kotor Circle Festival, launched last year by the Culture Secretariat of the Municipality of Kotor, when it was run by parties that are opposition at the state level.
Source: Timur Tmurni FB profile, Vijesti
20 Sep 2019, 20:49 PM

20 September 2019 - President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović received Ambassador of the Republic of Greece to Montenegro Sotirios Athanasiou.

The President thanked Ambassador Sotirios Athanasiou for excellent cooperation during his diplomatic term and expressed satisfaction with the improvement of relations between the two countries in all fields. He extended special gratitude to Greece for its continued support to Montenegro and the WB region in the integration process, appreciating that Greece correctly understands the crucial importance of integration for the stability and perspective of the Region, as well as the whole of Europe. Expecting Montenegro and the WB to have encouraging messages from Athens in the coming period, Đukanović said full integration remains an essential issue.

"Stability and dynamic economic development are directly dependent on the speed of integration," said Đukanović.

In talks with Ambassador Athanasiou, President Đukanović congratulated him on his election to the Government and expressed hope that the new Greek executive authority would with great affection look to develop relations between the two countries. In this context, he welcomed the recent visit of President Pavlupoulos to Montenegro, which provided a strong impetus for further enhancement of co-operation, including on this occasion the signed Agreement in the field of culture, which will help further better connect the two peoples. Taking steps to intensify university and transport and maritime co-operation, with excellent defense co-operation with NATO, the President assessed that the most important co-operation resource in the coming period remains the field of economy and tourism and encouraged an even stronger presence of Greek investors in Montenegro, his office reported.

Ambassador Athanasiou thanked the President and the Montenegrin people for their friendly reception during his term and said that Montenegro had made tremendous progress, both economically and in the area of ​​the rule of law, and that it was a leader in the integration process.

"You have made tremendous progress and it would be fair for Montenegro to become an EU member," the ambassador said, stressing that the EU is the only path for WB countries without which Europe will not be fully integrated.

With satisfaction with the results of President Pavlopoulos's visit, the Greek ambassador reiterated his invitation to President Đukanović to visit Athens, which he was pleased to accept.

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

19 Sep 2019, 20:16 PM

19 September 2019 - Montenegro and Greece have excellent political bilateral relations, and the two countries’ solid economic cooperation needs to be further strengthened, Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković and Greek Ambassador Sotirios Athanasiou concluded at a recent meeting.

"Greece has always clearly and directly supported our national preferences and I want to thank you for that. Your embassy was the first point of contact in the NATO integration process, and today, as a full member of the Alliance, together with Italy, you are protecting our airspace, "Prime Minister Marković told Ambassador Athanasiou, who he received on a farewell visit.

The Prime Minister said that numerous very credible Greek companies are present in Montenegro, but that there is room for more meaningful cooperation and new investments in various fields. At the meeting, it was stated that better aviation connectivity would give additional impetus to stronger economic cooperation. In this context, the decision of the Government of Montenegro to valorize the airports was positively assessed, thus ensuring the improvement of the infrastructure as well as better aviation accessibility.

According to the official statement by the Government of Montenegro, the interlocutors agreed that the process of integration of Montenegro and the entire Western Balkans region into the European Union is of great importance for further progress, peace and stability. Ambassador Athanasiou stressed that integration is equally important for the Balkans and for the EU and said it was important to speed up the negotiation process.

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

14 Sep 2019, 19:10 PM

14 September 2019 - Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković hosted Director-General for Neigbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission Christian Danielsson. 

The meeting expressed satisfaction with the appointment of candidates as members of the European Commission, noting that the proposal to appoint more people from the region of Southeastern Europe to significant positions is a confirmation of the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries and an encouragement for further affirmation of European policies and values.

"I believe we will also take this opportunity. There is no dilemma that Montenegro, as a responsible state and leader of integration and reforms in the region, will further strengthen the integration process as a whole and will strengthen its commitment and efficiency in fulfilling its obligations, which must produce good results," Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković noted in the announcement provided by his office.

Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković pointed out that the success of the integration process depends not only on motivation and commitment but also on evaluating the results.

PM Marković informed Mr. Danielsson that the implementation of the Government's policies in the field of anti-corruption, rule of law and media freedom resulted in the corruption investigations within the system, a new Council of the Anti-Corruption Agency, termination of attacks on journalists and the media and the proposed set of media laws that were harmonized with the European Commission.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister and the Director-General for Neigbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations discussed issues of economic cooperation in the region and aspects of attracting European investment in specific Montenegrin strategic infrastructure projects. 

Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, Ambassador Aivo Orav, and Head of the Mission of Montenegro to the EU, Ambassador Bojan Šarkić also attended the meeting.

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

13 Sep 2019, 15:11 PM

13 September 2019 - Minister of Foreign Affairs Srđan Darmanović paid his first official visit to the Republic of Turkey recently, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. 

Both sides assessed that the two countries cherish friendly and comprehensive relations, which are further strengthened by the alliance in NATO, and strongly connected through economic cooperation and numerous potentials for their further improvement.

The meeting emphasised the importance of further intensification of the political dialogue between the two countries, as well as intensive economic cooperation and continuous increase in trade in goods and an increase in the number of foreign direct investments.

The officials agreed that the two countries are cooperating well within NATO with a view to a more stable and secure environment.

Minister Darmanović said that the opening of the Consulate General of Montenegro in Istanbul, as well as the Turkish Consulate in Bijelo Polje, will contribute to the improvement of bilateral relations. He also stressed the continued contribution of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), adding that the country sees the scholarship of Montenegrin students as a valuable support in upgrading knowledge and development.

Minister Çavuşoğlu said the visit was a continuation of intense dialogue, which resulted in a high degree of mutual understanding and cooperation. He reiterated Turkey's commitment to strengthening relations between the two countries, agreeing that economic cooperation and trade were recognised as priority areas.

Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey and Montenegro are intensively cooperating in the field of defence, culture and transport, and stressed the importance of its further improvement, both in the mentioned fields and in the field of health and education, reported the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro.

Minister Darmanović also met with Speaker of the Grand National Assembly Mustafa Şentop and Vice President of Turkey Fuat Oktay. The interlocutors pointed to the importance of the multi-ethnic harmony by which Montenegro was recognised and discussed relations in the Western Balkans region, economic and parliamentary cooperation.

During his official visit to Turkey, the Minister laid a wreath on the eternal house of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and visited the mausoleum dedicated to the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

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

10 Sep 2019, 13:06 PM

Corruption has a strong and negative impact on economic development, contributes to stratification and inequality in society, which is why it is necessary to strengthen further the mechanisms established by local governments in terms of transparency and accountability of doing the business of immediate interest to citizens.

This was assessed in the panel "Corruption at the local level is not a local problem", within the second part of the annual national conference on corruption at the local level "Let's place corruption in the museum", organized by the Center for Civic Education (CCE). 

Assistant Secretary-General of the Communities of Municipalities, Sasa Scekic, said that the mechanisms, which all local governments had established, needed to be further strengthened in terms of transparency and accountability of doing the business of immediate interest to citizens.

"I do not agree that these mechanisms have not been established. I can agree that there is room for progress and change; however they are clearly established and exist in all local governments. Whether and to what extent we use them and whether we use them in the right way is a question for all of us,” said Scekic.

He believes that the continuous training of local officials and employees is essential.

"These are complex and responsible jobs, and we have a problem that people who do these jobs often change. We have a situation where people leave municipalities and start their private business. We have to pay attention to keep these people, to further train them to do their job," said Scekic.

He also said that "there is also an inertness of citizens when it comes to things that are of immediate interest for them."

Executive Director of the Institute for Business and Financial Literacy, Milos Vukovic, said corruption has a strong and negative impact on economic development and quality of life.

"Corruption contributes to stratification and inequality in every society, even in Montenegro, undermines trust in institutions and can lead to certain instabilities in society. It is difficult to measure systemic corruption, because of its hidden nature and its various manifestations in society. Corruption is very persistent and the results in the fight against corruption are very slow,” Vukovic said.

Vukovic recalled that, according to an IMF document, Fiscal Monitor, in April 2019, it was clearly established that government revenues were significantly lower in countries that were considered more corrupt.

"For the group of countries to which Montenegro belongs, only tax revenues can generate 4.25% more annual GDP than the least corrupt countries. As GDP stood at 4.6 billion euros in 2018, this means that Montenegro, based on better tax collection alone, could have collected more than 195 million euros or about 535,000 euros a day or 6.20 euros every second or some 50,000 euros in duration of today's panel," Vukovic specified.

According to him, corruption affects "all of us" and leads to weaker institutions, feelings of injustice, distrust, reduced quality of health services and education for all.

"If we calculate this percentage to annual GDP, from 2006 to 2018, we could collect almost €2 billion on tax alone. This also means that our debt could have been two-thirds lower than it is today, bearing in mind that as of June 30, 2019, it amounted to 3.13 billion," he explained.

"Corruption, in combination with other factors, is leading to a mass exodus of intellectual elites and young people. If we continue like this, in 10-15 years, we will have no one to exchange opinions with. That is why the fight against corruption must be placed at the number one position in the country," concluded Vukovic.

The State Prosecutor, a representative of the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office, Vukas Radonjic, said that the statistics do not reflect the dedicated work of state prosecutors in the fight against corruption.

"I will not speak about the statistics here, it is in the annual report on the work of the State Prosecutor's Office, and this is all available, including the number of complaints, on the prosecutor's website," Radonjic said.

He stated that it was acceptable for the public to doubt and criticize the work of any institution, including the State Prosecutor's Office, explaining in detail the legal competencies of the Prosecutor's Office.

“And the State Prosecution is striving to achieve better results. However, you must accept that the public interest is protected in the course of criminal proceedings. That is why criminal proceedings cannot be public during the whole duration, especially when it comes to crimes of high corruption. When the authorities conducting the proceedings consider that the public should be aware of a case, they will come forward with adequate information,” Radonjic explained when asked about individual cases.

He called on citizens, inspection, customs, tax and other authorities, those involved in anti-money laundering and terrorist financing, to report corruption offenses.

"Every application will be considered. We need to raise awareness in society that corruption is a serious social problem and that we cannot accept it as a daily occurrence," Radonjic said.

He said that the Special State Prosecutor's Office (SSP) initiated six criminal cases ex officio last year, and that the Police Directorate had filed 277 applications and non-governmental organizations 26.

"In any case, over 800 applications were received by SSP during 2018. These applications are active and in process," Radonjic said.

The head of the integrity, lobbying and regulatory analysis department at the Anti-Corruption Agency, Grozdana Lakovic, explained that Integrity Plans were conceived as a preventive instrument, which is primarily an assessment of institutions and employees.

“There is stagnation, and this is demonstrated by the last two reports of the European Commission where the recommendations for local government are identical. An integrity plan is a preventative anti-corruption mechanism that you cannot expect to produce a miracle. The integrity plan depends on the integrity of the individual who writes it and on the integrity of the head of the authority who signs and releases it," said Lakovic.

She assessed that the integrity plan depends on the general, overall social milieu "in which we are placed."

"I'm not happy with the milieu that we are in," Lakovic said.

She pointed out that the main recommendation in the EC report is merit-based employment, in order to realize the principle of professionalism and responsibility of local government employees, regardless of the ruling party.

"A systematic year-round training plan is a very important tool for generating staff, which will remain independent of the political structure in that municipality," Lakovic said.

Director-General of the Directorate for local government and state-owned companies in the Ministry of Finance, Snezana Mugosa, said it was crucial to place emphasis on transparency of local governments when planning and implementing the budget.

"When it comes to the budget planning process, transparency is very important. Municipalities are obliged to hold a public discussion. However, it is evident that the low level of citizen participation seems to be primarily due to a poor understanding of the municipality's budget and because it is not presented in an understandable way. The recommendation through our activities is for everyone to prepare a Citizens Budget Guide that will show in an understandable way how to collect, finance and spend budget funds,” explained Mugosa.

As for the debt, she said, according to the latest data, the total debt of local governments is around 151 million euros on loans, and when it comes to arrears, they amount to 69 million euros at the end of the second quarter of this year. "But it is important that these obligations are being reduced," she stressed.

The project “Let's Put Corruption in a Museum” is implemented by the Center for Civic Education (CCE) in partnership with the Monitoring and Research Center (CEMI), NGO Bonum from Pljevlja, NGO UL-Info from Ulcinj and NGO Zadruga from Petrovac, in cooperation with the Anti-Corruption Agency and with the support of the Delegation Of the European Union in Montenegro and the Ministry of Public Administration.

Text by Vijesti online, on September 9th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

09 Sep 2019, 20:29 PM

09 September 2019 - President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović met with Matthew Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and the newly appointed Western Balkans Representative for the United States State Department, who is on an official visit to Montenegro, on September 9th.

During the meeting, President Đukanović congratulated Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Palmer on his appointment to this responsible mission, which represents a confirmation of the continued US presence in the region. He emphasized the importance of being such a good connoisseur of the Balkans. “You can count on the absolute partnership of Montenegro and mine personally so that we can all do what is best for the region”, Đukanović said on this occasion.

The President also stressed that both sides share initial assessments of the problems in the region: insufficient peace and stability and a lack of clear vision of the prosperity of the region. “The path to overcoming the aforementioned problems is integration, and the Western Balkans does not have a desirable perspective without integration, which is why we strongly advocate enlargement policy”, Đukanović said. The President reminded that by its example, Montenegro shows that such a policy is delivering results, which is reflected by the country's membership in NATO and what makes this country the aspirant who has moved the farthest in the EU accession process.

“In addition to a clear vision, we also have a growing capacity to adopt reforms and overcome challenges, seeking to affirm regional cooperation as a good path to integration. It is very important for Europe to recognize its responsibility and strategic interest in integrating the Balkans”, the President said, noting that everyone in the region, together with partners like the US, should encourage Europe to begin a more active policy towards the WB as soon as possible.

According to the official statement by the PR office of The President, Đukanović took the opportunity to once again thank Washington for its support to Montenegro, especially in the area of ​​defence and security, and said that the priorities for the coming period were to strengthen the cybercrime and hybrid threats defence network. The President expressed interest in enhancing economic relations and attracting more US investment in Montenegro.

Palmer also expressed his satisfaction with the meeting, pointing out that it is no coincidence that Montenegro is the first destination he visited at the beginning of his term as our country is a leader and an example for others in the region. He briefed the President on the priorities of his mission: encouraging the opening of EU accession negotiations for Skopje and Tirana, returning to the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and seeking solutions for the functionality of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Palmer emphasized that he sees Montenegro as a partner in these processes, especially given the good relations it has with the countries of the region.

President Đukanović agreed on the choice of priorities, saying that the interests of Montenegro are identical and added that the forces in the region that are aspiring to Europe should be more strongly supported in order to encourage the WB to further integration.

08 Sep 2019, 10:59 AM

08 September 2019 - On September 09, Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović will host Matthew Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and the newly appointed Western Balkans Representative for the United States State Department, who will be in an official visit to Montenegro.

Following the meeting between President Đukanović and US Assistant Secretary of State Palmer, the PR Office of the President will issue a press release.

This September, the US Secretary of State has appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer as his Special Representative for the Western Balkans.  In this role, Palmer will lead US efforts to strengthen their diplomatic engagement in support of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and focus on the integration of the Western Balkan countries into Western institutions.

As Special Representative, Palmer will attend meetings in Vienna and Podgorica, September 4-10. Palmer is expected to meet with Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović, according to the statement of the PR Office of the President.

Đukanović also recently (04.09) hosted a delegation from the United States Congress, led by Senator Lindsey Graham, who was visiting Montenegro. On this occasion, The President showed his appreciation for the attention the United States and Congress paid to Montenegro, as well as Washington's continued support, which he said contributed significantly to maintaining peace, consolidating multi-ethnic harmony, strengthening democracy and implementing social reforms.

The US Congressional delegation also included the wife of Senator McCain, who, in front of the McCain Institute recently hosted by President Đukanović, praised Montenegro's consistency in the fight for human rights, anti-trafficking, and offered expert and other co-operation in order to improve further Montenegro's rating, which was gladly accepted.

08 Sep 2019, 02:55 AM

07 September 2019 - Enlargement policy should be expression of common and honest commitment of the European Union and the Western Balkans, said the President of the Committee on International relations and Emigrants, Andrija Nikolić, at the Inter-parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), which was held in Helsinki as part of Finland’s EU presidency.

In a panel dedicated to current political developments in the Western Balkans region and the EU integration process, Nikolić said that Brussels should demonstrate a more decisive approach in pursuing enlargement policy, with a clearer policy towards the Western Balkans. He also stressed that he believes that EU session in October will be a signal for opening negotiation s with North Macedonia and Albania, as well as for opening last negotiating chapter with Montenegro. “That would restore optimism of candidate countries”, reads the statement of the Parliament of Montenegro.

In addition to MP Nikolic, the delegation of the Parliament of Montenegro was composed of members of the Security and Defence Committee, Luiđ Škrelja and Boris Mugoša, and a member of the Committee on International Relations and Emigrants, Ervin Ibrahimović.

The Inter-parliamentary Conference was opened by the Speakers of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Parliament of Finland, Mika Niikko and Ilkka Kanerva, and the introductory part was addressed by: Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament David McAllister and The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

The conference was dedicated to various topics: “Stronger Europe for European future”, “Renewal of Trans-Atlantic unity in global relations”, “Exchange of views on EU priorities in CFSP-CSDP”  and “Where is the EU defence going: Strength for peace or Military strength?”

05 Sep 2019, 18:31 PM

05 September 2019 - President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović received a delegation from the United States Congress, led by Senator Lindsey Graham, who is visiting Montenegro.

President Đukanović thanked him for visiting and for the attention the United States and Congress paid to Montenegro, as well as Washington's continued support, which he said contributed significantly to maintaining peace, consolidating multiethnic harmony, strengthening democracy and implementing social reforms. He especially thanked him for his support for Montenegro's accession to NATO, which is the most important achievement of our society in recent history.

"When we were rebuilding our independence, we said that we wanted to bring Montenegro back to European and Euro-Atlantic values. We had a clear vision, and it proved to have a real strength to achieve this," said Đukanović and particularly emphasized the role of Congress in this, especially the recently deceased Senator John McCain.

President Đukanović also briefed the congressmen on the current situation in Montenegro, emphasizing commitment to the European and Euro-Atlantic value system, perseverance in defense of multiethnic democracy, continuous strengthening the rule of law and contribution to the stability of the region, as well as maintaining dynamic economic growth and improving the quality of life of people, as his office reported.

"We want to see more investors from the US and other NATO countries, aware that we are also getting new quality and standards," pointed out President of Montenegro.

The President also stressed the importance of more dynamic integration of the WB into the EU, as the most reliable guarantee of overcoming lagging behind, strengthening stability and prosperity, which is also crucial in maintaining the enthusiasm of the EU and its members for enlargement policy.

"We firmly believe that WB's place is in the EU and that the region can become an integral part of the European value system. The task of everyone in the region is to convince the EU of the importance of the integration process," Đukanović noted. 

He also underlined the importance of maintaining Euro-Atlanticism and strengthening NATO, to which Montenegro, as a responsible member, will make a full contribution.

Senator Graham and other members of the delegation thanked the President for receiving with compliments on Montenegro's leadership and achievements, her ability to find her own identity that would be aligned with the West in a very problematic environment. In that sense, full readiness of the Congress to help strengthen the role of Montenegro in the region was expressed, confirming and strengthening the decisions it made and their concrete implementation. Commenting on information on activities in the area of ​​reform and modernization of Montenegrin society, they congratulated Montenegro on all significant efforts and encouraged further progress.

All members of the delegation emphasized Senator McCain's attitude towards Montenegro, noting that this visit also had a sentimental line.

US Congressmen were also interested in further promoting the benefits of NATO membership, the influence of third parties, as well as its economic development, and expressed their readiness for full cooperation and support in this regard.

The US Congressional delegation also included the wife of Senator McCain, who, in front of the McCain Institute recently hosted by President Đukanović, praised Montenegro's consistency in the fight for human rights, anti-trafficking, and offered expert and other co-operation in order to improve further Montenegro's rating, which was gladly accepted.

Ambassador Judy Rising Reinke also participated in the meeting.

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

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