02 December 2019 - The Government of Montenegro reviewed the Draft Law Amending the Law on Public Order and Peace, submitted to the Parliament of Montenegro by its Deputy Speaker Genci Nimanbegu, and in that regard, gave Opinion in the text prepared by the Ministry of the Interior. Amendments proposed by the Government are related to the introduction of the obligation to stand up for the national anthem, which, together with the penal provisions concerning state symbols, becomes an integral part of this Law.
Minister of Culture Aleksandar Bogdanović said that the Government remains firmly committed to promoting the state policy based on suppressing negative and growing phenomena in society relating to the denial of Montenegro's statehood and cultural identity, the civic profile of the Montenegrin society, the glorification and representation of fascist, chauvinist and Nazi ideas and ideology.
State Secretary of the Ministry of the interior Dragan Pejanović pointed out that it was proposed that the Law on Public Order and Peace should consider the actions taken "through advertisements and advertising billboards" as violations of public order and peace.
The new article stipulates that a legal entity that publishes inappropriate and misleading content in the public place, through advertisement and advertising billboards that cause anxiety and disgrace to citizens, shall be imposed fines for a misdemeanour ranging from 2,500 EUR to 15,000 EUR.
The Government's proposal states that the unsuitable and misleading contents that provoke, upset or disgrace citizens are the following: incorrect presentation and denial of clearly established historical facts regarding Montenegro; bringing facts that violate territorial integrity or magnify the occupation of Montenegro; cooperating with the occupier or advocating for fascist, chauvinist and Nazi ideas and ideologies. It also prescribes that an entrepreneur who commits a misdemeanor will be fined from 500 EUR to 5,000 EUR, a responsible person in a legal entity will be imposed fines ranging from 300 EUR to 2,000 EUR, and a natural person from 300 EUR to 1,000 EUR or a prison sentence of up to 60 days.
In Article 21 of the Law, a new paragraph shall be added after paragraph 4, which reads as follows: "A natural person who during the performance of the national anthem, in cases when applicable regulations prescribe the performance, is sitting, whistling, creating noise or otherwise disturbing public peace and order, thus causing anxiety, disgrace or jeopardising the serenity of citizens, will be fined 250 to 1200 EUR or imprisonment for up to 60 days."
01 January 2019 - Prime Minister Duško Marković said in an interview for a special holiday edition of Pobjeda daily that there is no compromise on the State and the issues that are of interest to all its citizens. We have determined, the Prime Minister pointed out, the directions of development that are focused on the European quality of life.
"At the level at which these two interests coincide, any possibility of compromise with those who think or wish contrary to interest of Montenegro and all of its citizens, regardless of political commitment, national or religious affiliation, ceases. If it were different, then we would talk about some other values, and that cannot happen in today's Montenegro," PM Marković stressed.
When asked about the social consensus within Montenegro and the dialogue, the Prime Minister said that the intention of his permanent invitation for dialogue was that opposition subjects should be distanced from their commitment to political ghettoization, which naturally does not contribute to the prosperity of society and the welfare of citizens.
"Only in institutions we can represent the interests of citizens, and I am convinced that the boycott, regardless of motives, is undermining the political system and democracy," PM Marković noted.
Recalling the complex political situation since the beginning of the Government's mandate and the need to deal with fiscal challenges, Prime Minister Marković said that the results were achieved in terms of consolidating public finances.
"The robust economic growth of 4.7 percent in 2017 and 4.9 in the first nine months of 2018 indicate that in the past two years we have been successful and that we have largely solved the essential issues of relevance to the economic progress of the country," the Prime Minister said, reminding that the number of employees has increased by over 11,000, that the gross income per capita has increased and the stability of public services has been ensured.
In order to achieve these indicators it was important, the Prime Minister added, to improve the administration and institutional system, remove barriers and improve the business environment, and integration into NATO and negotiations with the EU gave significant contribution.
When asked when citizens will start to feel the positive effects of the results he is talking about, the Prime Minister said that he is convinced that Montenegrin citizens are already feeling the effects of a two-year strong economic growth.
"Our focus was on directing the effects of economic growth on further building of social infrastructure and improving the quality of public services order to improve the standard of living of citizens. In particular, we have worked to ensure that economic growth is reflected in an increase in employment, while preserving the level of salaries, pensions and social benefits in the country, at a time of fiscal consolidation. We succeeded in that," he said, adding that the quality of life is not only determined by the salary.
The Prime Minister also spoke of many other benefits that the thousands of citizens gained through numerous incentives, for example, in education and agriculture. He said that over 12,000 pupils, students or their parents felt concrete financial benefits in the past two years.
Pointing to the fact that agro-budget is growing year after year, PM Marković said that we have dozens of programmes and incentives for farmers. He said that about 10 thousand producers were supported with around EUR 10 million through the programmes of direct payments.
"In the next two years of the mandate, the Government will work to create the preconditions for continuing economic growth and its even stronger impact on increasing the employment and income of citizens, i.e. the growth in the average salary in the country and pensions. We carefully look at possible ways of increasing the minimum wage," Prime Minister emphasised.
Furthermore, he talked about the need to fight the grey economy and in that context announced the amendment of several tax laws, but also stressed the need for synergy between the institutions in charge of this area, that is, the inspection, the police and the prosecution.
PM Marković also spoke about the EU integration process and stated that the opening of the chapter Environment is a great success for Montenegro: "At the same time, it is a great obligation, but also an opportunity to use our potentials and preserve the environment. This is the essence of negotiation and approximation process with EU values."
We are guided, as he said, by the quality, not only the speed, but we will not ignore the importance of the dynamics of progress along that path. He pointed out that opening of chapter 8 is a priority, but also an opportunity for an even stronger dialogue with the European Commission and Member States on the process of closing the chapter.
"The European Commission and the Member States stated 2025 as the possible date for a new enlargement. We will certainly do everything that is up to us to make the dynamics as successful as possible and make this date a reality," the Prime Minister said.
Responding to questions about legalization, PM Marković said he was satisfied with the number of reported illegally built facilities. He stated that the ultimate goal of legalization was not only to list illegally built facilities, but also to legalize and invest the fees for utility planning in the infrastructure.
He pointed out that new illegal construction will absolutely not be tolerated, and that we notice that local governments and their administration are the main point of slowing down these processes, because they do not use possibilities given by the Law.
Asked whether the concession at the Airports of Montenegro will definitely be given in the next year, and whether he expects this to provoke a crisis of coalition government, the Prime Minister said that the state of the infrastructure is a serious obstacle for further dynamic development and that investment in it has no alternative.
"In particular, we do not have time to arbitrate on different political approaches. In this context, the urgent development and valorization of the airport is a necessity, precisely because close to two-thirds of those who come to Montenegro come through our airports. Do we need any further elaboration," the Prime Minister concluded.
01 January 2019 - The President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, wishes citizens of Montenegro a happy New Year, with good health, personal and family happiness and prosperity in all areas. As he emphasized, 2018 will be remembered for good deeds, and the expectation is that 2019 will be even better.
“After we successfully resolved all important strategic issues in the 2006 referendum and over the 12-year period of our independence, fostered our security and political stability, improved the inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations, we have established grounds for boosting the economic and democratic development aimed at reaching a new, high-quality standard of living for all our citizens,” noted President Đukanović.
The 2018 election results undoubtedly confirmed support to the state policy we have been implementing at the national, and the international level said President of Montenegro.
President Đukanović wishes all Montenegrins a happy and prosperous New Year.
“Happy New Year especially to our representatives in the military and civilian missions worldwide, our diligent and loyal diaspora, to all our people wherever they are. I would also like to wish a happy New Year to all foreigners living and working in Montenegro and all our guests who decided to spend the New Year’s Eve in our country. Happy New Year to all of you! E viva Montenegro,” said President of Montenegro.
President of Montenegro recently came back from his official visit to Argentina, where he opened the Montenegrin house.
Đukanović was honoured to represent Montenegro in Argentina and witness the implementation of the project “Montenegrin House“ with the support of the representatives of Sáenz Peña, the whole province of Chaco, and with the assistance of Montenegrin emigrants. “This is the first project of its kind in this part of the world, which symbolizes Montenegro's eternity and the Montenegrins rooted in the foundations of the Argentinean society, as well as the sustainability of the Montenegrin-Argentine friendship. It is also a symbol of the progress of our country, as well as the success of its sons who for centuries went to distant lands,” the President explained in his speech.
30 December 2018 - "The Western Balkans need to become part of the European Union (EU) as soon as possible, and we will remain committed to providing support to our partners in the region," said Romanian foreign affairs minister Teodor Melescanu.
This is especially important due to the fact Romania is to take over presidency over the Council of the EU as of 1 January, and Melescanu stressed that it would be essential for Montenegro to open all negotiation chapters to come closer to the European community.
“Romania will continue with encouraging the enlargement process by using all the forthcoming key moments for further promotion of the EU involvement in the region, as well as commitment of our partners to reforms and demographic transformations. We will keep stressing the importance of joint support to the Western Balkans in order to be able to respond to the requirements of the accession process,” concluded Melescanu.
They have been, Melescanu said, fully aware of the fact Montenegro needs to open all negotiation chapters while at the same time being focused on the internal preps, which enable closing of some chapters.
Back in July 2018, representatives of the Government of Montenegro hosted the Prime Minister of Romania, Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă, who paid an official visit to Montenegro.
"We particularly appreciate the visit of Prime Minister Dăncilă ahead of Romania's first presidency of the EU Council next year, in the first half of 2019. At the same time, we want to congratulate you in advance and wish Romania success during the presidency and thank you for the fact that Montenegro and the Western Balkans are already high on their agenda," the Prime Minister of Montenegro said during this occasion.
Dăncilă said that she had very constructive discussions with Prime Minister Marković and emphasised that in the future, the two countries will pay more attention to sectoral cooperation and cooperation in the field of energy, education, culture, and tourism, as well as cooperation in the field of investments.
"We decided to organise an economic forum together to present one of the first steps in promoting cooperation between the two countries," Romanian Prime Minister Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă concluded.
28 December 2018 - The Government of Montenegro adopted the Proposal Amendments to the Law on the Use of the Units of the Armed Forces of Montenegro in the international forces and the participation of the members of the civil protection, police and state administration authorities in the peacekeeping missions and other activities abroad. The proposed amendments stipulate that the involvement of the members of Armed Forces of Montenegro in the missions, responses to crisis and missions within the humanitarian operations be mandatory.
Up until now, the principle of volunteerism has been applied in the participation in missions.
The first step for a specific Armed Forces member to be sent to an international mission is an application in relations to the announcement of the Ministry of Defence, as explained by the representatives of the Ministry. If a person does not apply for the announcement, they cannot be assigned to a task, regardless of the need to send the unit to the task. “The reason why the Army cannot send a certain unit to the NATO mission can be that the unit lacks a couple of members, which can bring its occupancy into question and, consequently, the ability to fulfil the deferred task”.
This is the reason why the procedure for the amendment to the existing law has been initiated. “The amendments will create the possibility that a whole unit can be sent into a mission, provided that all the members had previously been trained for the joint fulfilment of the task,” said the representatives of the Ministry.
The Proposal Law on the Amendments to this law also defines that a member of the Armed Forces, operation protection unit, or any member of the unit in charge, will have right to seek compensation of the damage caused in case they get injured or wounded during the participation in the mission or training session.
If Montenegro sends two officers in Iraq in the second half of 2019, that will be the fourth participation of Montenegro into the NATO peacekeeping missions, aside from those where the country participates under the auspices of the EU. Montenegro sent its first troupes to the international peacekeeping mission ISAF in Afghanistan in 2010.
27 December 2018 - Prime Minister Duško Marković called on business people to work together with the Government to suppress the grey economy he considers the key deficit of Montenegro's economy.
"The grey economy is devastating not only for the economic environment and business operations of your companies, but also for the consciousness of our people. We need to show that the moonlighting is unethical, unreasonable and punishable by the law," said the Prime Minister.
"We need to introduce a state of emergency in the administration to tackle weaknesses," the Prime Minister noted, adding that he does not allow excuses for shared competences and that in 2019 the Government will be focused on addressing this kind of challenge.
The Prime Minister said that each of Government's policies must take into account the people who work for the country, that is, an individual, an employee, a worker. Given the fact that many data have been presented at the meeting, the Prime Minister added that such a political situation, such a course of reforms and this result contributed to the growth of company's profit. "I would like part of that profit to be redirected to the standard of employees in companies. If we managed to register this in the six months of the following year as a new approach, I tell you this would become a real story ... to finally begin to reduce the tax burden on labour. There is no justification that it is now at the level of 67%. No business plan can justify such high burden rates. This Government speaks openly; we are the people who recognise weaknesses. But we are also the people who are obligated before the Constitution and before the law to respond to these weaknesses," Prime Minister Duško Marković pointed out.
Speaking about projections for the next year, the Prime Minister said he appreciates the conservative projections of the Ministry of Finance for 2019 of 2.8%, but that he expects much more.
"If I knew it would be 2.8% in 2019, I would resign today. I respect the projection, but I am not interested in it! I want higher growth! The growth could be at the level of 4.1%, not 2.8%. That should be our task. We respect estimates, but we need to achieve more. Because of you, your employees, we have to do this because of the citizens of Montenegro, because of our future and our economy. There is no overall progress unless we have a developed economy and long-term sustainable growth," Prime Minister Duško Marković highlighted.
He thanked the business people for their partnership, understanding and solidarity in working together with the Government to overcome the challenges, limitations and deficits, and said that in the next year, the Government will remains a partner of the Chamber of Commerce.
23 December 2018 - Prime Minister Duško Marković stated in his traditional address at the end of the year that 2018 has been successful for government of Montenegro in both domestic and foreign policy terms., that Montenegro has confirmed itself as a credible member of NATO and that it has maintained the dynamics of negotiations with the EU. He pointed out that he considers economic results the greatest success.
"This was a year of strong international affirmation of Montenegro, dynamic economic development, stabilisation of political and overall social circumstances. As a new full member of NATO, this year we have confirmed the ability to take responsibility with our partners and contribute to the values of the Alliance - peace and stability. As a reliable neighbour, we have transferred our experiences to countries that are in the process of Euro-Atlantic and European integration, helping them overcome the most complex challenges. We have done all this through promoting dialogue and patience as the key guidelines of the overall progress of our region," said the Prime Minister at the traditional New Year's reception, which he hosted for high representatives of the legislative, executive and judicial authorities, figures from political, economic, cultural and public life and diplomatic corps.
The Prime Minister pointed out that in the past year Government of Montenegro has maintained dynamics in the negotiation process with the European Union.
"We have understood the encouraging messages from Brussels, especially those sent from the EU-Western Balkans Summit on the European perspective of candidate countries but the entire region as well," Prime Minister Duško Marković noted.
He said that Montenegro wants to be in the European Union, which will be shaped by its citizens, adding that the struggle for European values is a primary and most important task.
"This includes Montenegro of democratic values, a functional political system and the rule of law," PM Marković.
The Prime Minister considers economy Montenegro's greatest success in the previous year.
"In terms of achieving economic policy, the Government has make impressive results. The balance of our public finances is much better - two hundred million revenue more than in 2017, halved deficit, significantly more money for education, health, science and agriculture. The tourist season exceeded last year's record, with more than a billion euros of revenue. And just two hours ago, we learned that our economic activity in the third quarter increased by 5%, which is the third highest rate of economic growth in Europe. Montenegro is today a large construction site with 138 million euros more foreign investment than in the previous year," the Prime Minister said at the New Year's reception.
This pace of development, the Prime Minister stressed, will be quite surely continued in 2019.
"And because of this, at the end of the next year, and certainly at the beginning of 2020, this will result in the increase of living standards through the growth of personal income, new and better paid jobs, more generous pension fund and more just social benefits," said the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Duško Marković said that the Government will continue to create economic growth that based on real economic parameters; growth that is sustainable and long-term; growth that will strengthen the financial and economic stability of the country.
December 23, 2018 - Kotor Mayor Vladimir Jokić called on the Constitutional Court to urgently make a decision on the proposal to review the constitutionality and legality of the Detailed Urban Plan (DUP) of Kostanjica, whose implementation in Kotor and Montenegro would inflict irreparable damage. He announced it on Friday at the press conference he convened on this occasion.
On Monday, he submitted to the Constitutional Court a proposal to review the constitutionality and legality of DUP Kostanjica, explaining that this proposal was the result of the work of the legal team of the Municipality of Kotor.
"Kostanjica area is one of the most sensitive parts of the protected area of Kotor and has so far been recognized as a part of the area that is over constructed. This space was mentioned for the first time In its decisions, the UNESCO Committee mentioned this area for the first time in 2014. In 2016 UNESCO treated Kostanjica as a part of the entire protected area, and in 2018, at the last UNESCO Committee Session, it was underlined that every construction on the site which is under the protection of UNESCO should be prevented," explained Jokić.
He said that since the establishment of the new administration in Kotor there is a request for the issuance of eight building permits based on the DUP Kostanjica.
"These eight building permits refer to over 30 residential and auxiliary facilities, totalling over ten thousand square meters," Jokić said.
According to him, such construction would lead to Kotor losing status on the UNESCO list.
"Such construction would have caused the Kostanjica space to be permanently and irretrievably devastated. Such construction would lead to Montenegro and Montenegrin society knowingly and deliberately screening themselves out of the line of civilized peoples," said Jokić.
He reminded that the government, in April last year, introduced a moratorium on construction in a protected area of Kotor.
"However, since the requests for these permits are submitted before this Decision was passed in accordance with the law, all legal provisions have been argued in support of the need to comply with these requirements, that building permits must be issued," Jokić said .
Jokic, from April until today, addressed the Montenegrin Government, the Montenegrin President, ministries, citing that, in addition to the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, which on several occasions replied that Kotor must act in accordance with the law, and the responses of the Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO, "we have received no response from any institution we have addressed."
"Representatives of the Kotor Municipality, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism met on several occasions in July, and this resulted in an agreement to form an interest group of these three institutions, where lawyers engaged by the three institutions will try to find a way that the issue of eight building permits is overcome. This team met once in August and until today did not manage to have any results," said Jokić.
He pointed out that the Municipality of Kotor, for the time being, tried to find a way to deal with this problem, "regardless all kind of pressure we are facing to issue these building permits."
He said that the three reasons why he believed DUP Kostanjica was illegal and unconstitutional.
"The first reason is that in 2009, when deciding on the amendments to the DUP Kostanjica, the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning, headed by Minister Branimir Gvozdenović, was obliged to consent to the local authority that the plan is adopted in accordance with the plan of the higher order, "said Jokić. He said that Gvozdenović did not give such consent on that occasion, but consent to the procedure being conducted in accordance with the law.
"He avoided that kind of consent, which was a legally binding element for adopting such a plan document," Jokić pointed out.
Jokić also pointed to the adoption of the Decision on the adoption of the DUP in 2009, which was passed as a modification of the 1991 decision, clarifying that by this same 2009 decision the decision from 1991 was taken out of force.
"So we have a paradoxical situation - the amendments to the basic act cease to apply this act. This means that no new act could have been valid either, "Jokić said.
He said that in 2013, the Assembly of the Municipality of Kotor, at its meeting in December, adopted the Decision on Changes of the Decision on the DUP in Kostanjica.
"These changes adopted by the Assembly extend the validity of the DUP Kostanjica to the adoption of a new planning document. On that occasion, the legal procedure for amending the law was strictly formalized," says Jokić.
He pointed out that the previous practice of the Constitutional Court, in the same cases, on the same occasion "resulted in such decisions being declared unlawful and unconstitutional."
"By acting in our opinion on the unconstitutional and unlawful detailed urban plan of Kostanjica, we would inflict irreparable damage to Kotor. Ultimately, it would inflict irreparable damage to the reputation of Montenegro in the international scene and the status of Montenegro in UNESCO and other United Nations agencies, "said Jokić.
He said that preserving Kotor on UNESCO lists issues of public interest. "It is not Kotor as a member of UNESCO, but Montenegro is a member of UNESCO," Jokić said.
He called on the Constitutional Court, noting that he did not intend to interfere in any way with its final decision, to take a proposal to review the constitutionality and legality of the DUP Kostanjica in the priority considerations.
22 December2018 - Montenegro is a source of peace and stability in the region, and partnership and friendship with the United States is permanent and value-based, Prime Minister Duško Marković's meeting with newly-appointed United States ambassador Judy Rising Reinke stressed.
"Our extraordinary bilateral relations, confirmed many times so far through significant events for both countries, can now be enriched by strong economic cooperation," said PM Marković, highlighting that Montenegro is now a free, democratic state, a NATO member and a stable country progressing on the path of EU accession.
The Prime Minister said that Montenegro has been implementing a strong economic agenda, experiencing intensive development and achieving economic growth, which is among the highest in Europe.
Noting that he sees a commitment to building and strengthening institutions, Ambassador Reinke said that she wants to dedicate her mandate to strengthening partnership within NATO, but also to enhancing economic cooperation, especially in the area of entrepreneurship and SMEs.
"Montenegro is a destination in which it is safe to invest and which can provide profit to the investor, but also better living standards for our citizens," Prime Minister Marković stated.
Both sides agreed that it is important to further improve the environment for entrepreneurship and investment, including the legislative system, to ensure full competitiveness and equal opportunities for all.
The Prime Minister pointed out that Montenegro is finalising the development of the Smart Specialisation Strategy to best recognise and exploit its potentials, and that in the coming period, strong incentives will be given to medium and small enterprises, entrepreneurs and startup companies.
Pointing out the Government's commitment to the balanced development of the country, the Prime Minister praised the United States Embassy's "Peace Corps" programme, which envisages the arrival of a group of American volunteers who will teach English to children from primary and secondary schools, mainly in the north of the country.
19 December 2018 - The NATO Council held its third session, chaired by the President of the Council, Prime Minister Duško Marković. The NATO Council reviewed several documents and noted that Montenegro, by its approach and quality and timely fulfillment of obligations within the Alliance, confirmed that it is a credible and reliable ally which is recognized by all NATO Member States.
In the context of the consideration of the implementation of Montenegro's Political Priorities in NATO in 2018, the Council noted that the successful profiling of Montenegro in the Alliance is important for the process of Montenegro's accession to the European Union.
The NATO Council considered the Report on the Annual Chairmanship of Montenegro by the US-Adriatic Charter (A5). It was concluded that through the organization of 17 meetings at the high and working level, Montenegro, in this way, proved to be a responsible ally that is ready to contribute to NATO policies, the stability of the region and promotion of Euro-Atlantic values in the Western Balkans.
The Report on the Implementation of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Communication Strategy "Montenegro NATO member 2018-2020", as well as the 2019 Draft Action Plan, were reviewed and noted that Strategy is successfully implemented and that the activities envisaged for the next year corresponds entirely with the basic objectives of the document.
The NATO Council also considered the Report on the Implementation of the Action Plan for strengthening the national system of crisis response. It was pointed out the need for an improved normative framework with the aim of defining and positioning a particular national crisis management center.
Back in October, it was noted by the NATO representatives that NATO membership sends a clear message to the world that a member state is safe and is heading towards progress. As the NATO’s latest member state, Montenegro proves this as it has managed to double the foreign direct investments (FDI) after joining the Alliance.